John J. CostonisJudge Albert Tate and Rosemary Neal Hawkland Professor of Law
Professor Costonis’s principal efforts in 2011-2012 were divided between service to his students and the Law Center and scholarship addressing Fifth Circuit jurisprudence defining the relationship between general maritime law and Outer Continental Shelf drilling operations. As to the first, he offered courses or seminars in Urban Planning Law, Law of the Louisiana Coast, Common Law Property and BP MDL Litigation. As to the second he published an exploratory article in 43 J. Mar. Com. & L. 8421 (2011), entitled The Macondo Well Blowout: Taking the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Seriously. Professor Costonis disagrees that the model addressed by this jurisprudence –choice of law regarding tortious accidents resulting in the personal injury or death of workers atop OCS platforms—is transferrable to the BP blowout tort action, which addresses the economic and property losses of over 100,000 private claimants resulting from oil discharged from tw o OCS situses: the BP well and the Deepwater Horizon. The latter tort, is derived from two non-admiralty federal statutes -the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The economic and property tort falls either wholly outside of admiralty jurisdiction on the ground, inter alia that it lacks a “substantial relation to traditional maritime activities,” or the federal statutes from which it derives pervasively displace otherwise applicable general maritime substantive and procedural law.
Chancellor Emeritus John Costonis, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, attended area public schools, Harvard University (A.B.) and Columbia Law School (L.L.B.). After service as a United States Army Counter-Intelligence officer, he attended the Universities of Pavia and Rome, Italy for graduate studies in philosophy. Chancellor Costonis has clerked or practiced with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling and the Chicago, Ill. law firm of Ross & Hardies. He has taught as a regular or visiting faculty member at the law schools of the University of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Berkeley and New York University, and served, successively, as the Vanderbilt Law School dean and the LSU Law Center chancellor (1998-June 2007). His practice, teaching, scholarship, and consulting have focused on environmental, property, land use, and historic preservation issues. He is a member of the Advisory Commission to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.View Archived Biographies