2015 Award Winner Samuel Issacharoff

Pound Institute’s inaugural Appellate Advocacy Award to Professor Samuel Issacharoff of NYU Law


Samuel Issacharoff

The Officers and Trustees of the Pound Civil Justice Institute have bestowed the Institute’s inaugural Appellate Advocacy Award on Professor Samuel Issacharoff, of the New York University School of Law, for his distinguished work on the Deepwater Horizon class litigation. The award will be presented on July 12, 2015, at the Pound Fellows’ reception, 5:00-6:30 pm at the Wine Cave, InterContinental Hotel, 360 Saint Antoine Ouest, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Professor Issacharoff is the Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU. He was singled out for his brilliant and tireless appellate advocacy on behalf of hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses who suffered calamitous losses in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The April 20, 2010, explosion and fire at the BP oil company’s oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed eleven platform workers and injured dozens of others. The resulting three-month-long discharge of over three million barrels of oil caused catastrophic physical and economic damage along the entire Gulf Coast of the United States.

After a class action was filed in federal court against BP and other responsible entities, class counsel negotiated a global settlement agreement, estimated by BP to be worth $14 billion. However, BP raised numerous challenges to the administration of the agreement by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Retained by counsel for the claimant class early in the litigation to design the theory of the lawsuit, Professor Issacharoff spearheaded the class’s trial and appellate strategy, worked with the claimants’ counsel on their appellate briefs in the 5th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, and served as lead counsel during oral arguments. The result was an unbroken series of appellate victories for the claimants, culminating in the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari (BP Exploration & Production, Inc. v. Lake Eugenie Land & Development, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 754 (Dec. 8, 2014)).

In addition to his appellate practice, Professor Issacharoff has produced a monumental body of legal scholarship in the areas of Constitutional law, civil procedure, complex litigation and class actions, law and economic analyses of procedure and constitutionalism, the law of democracy, and the law of the political process. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Civil Procedure (Foundation Press, 3d. edition, 2011); The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process (with Pamela Karlan and Richard Pildes) (Foundation Press, 4th. edition, 2012); and Fragile Democracies: Constitutional Courts in the Breach (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2015).