Sinkhole lawsuits to get class-action status

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge in New Orleans says he will grant class-action status to four lawsuits filed over issues raised by the Assumption Parish sinkhole. That's according to a new court filing Wednesday.

The Advocate reports U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey also will give Texas Brine Co. 30 more days to directly negotiate stalled out-of-court settlements with evacuated residents lacking legal representation.

The entry did not make clear when the 30-day clock would start running or what would happen to those residents if the 30-day period ends without a final deal from Texas Brine. Zainey announced the rulings one day after Gov.

Bobby Jindal criticized Texas Brine officials over the lack of progress in settlement talks