BP Questions US Court's Decision on Oil Spill Payments

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

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BP disputes decision made in a US appeal court to reject the company's move to halt payments under 2012's Economic and Property Damages Settlement relating to the Macondo oil spill.

BP said Tuesday that it disagrees with a decision made Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit relating to payments connected to April 2010's Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The court rejected the company's request for a permanent halt to payments under the Economic and Property Damages Settlement the firm reached with plaintiffs in March 2012.

BP had argued that some companies have been filing bogus claims under the settlement. But the court rejected the company's request for a permanent injunction preventing payments and also ruled that an earlier injunction stopping payments to claimants should be lifted.

In its statement Tuesday, BP said it believes that certain business economic loss (BEL) claimants – whose alleged injuries are not traceable to the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill – are "not proper class members under the terms of the settlement" and that the firm is considering a further appeal.

BP noted that the judges on the panel were split three ways, with two judges voting to affirm the District Court and deny permanent injunctive relief but without agreeing on the reason why a permanent relief should be denied.

"By denying the relief BP requested, however, BP believes that today's decision will improperly allow for the payment of losses with no connection to the spill," BP's statement said.

"BP further believes that unless this problem is fully corrected, the settlement cannot be upheld under the law. BP has accordingly already sought en banc rehearing of the January 2014 decision by a separate panel of the Fifth Circuit upholding the validity of the settlement. The full Court has not yet reached a decision on BP's en banc rehearing petition."


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A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com


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MikeM | Mar. 14, 2014
Justice wont be one until a grand jury convenes and subpoenas the sleaze lawyers and their army of runners and scam artists who actively recruited greedy and unscrupulous businesses and individuals to take advantage of the free money handed out left and right stolen from BP shareholders with the complicity of local governments. Fortunately each claimant and signed statement of alleged loss is a matter of record fully actionable under fraud and RICO statutes.

Keith Patton | Mar. 4, 2014
This just reaffirms what I said in posts at the time of the Deep Water Horizon blowout, that the accident and resulting damage awards amounted to strking the lottery for many companies on the razors edge of solvency. A former employer of mine, an environmental consultancy... was laying people off and furoughing others before the blowout. Then they began to recall everyone and sending them out to rake tar balls at $75 an hour billing them out as geologists and engineers. I once picked up trash and did weedeating at a closed Unocal refinery site in Beaumont. Me and another $65 an hour geologist did that kind of work for two weeks. It illustrates two things, client companies do not do sufficient oversight of their contractors billing, and everybody takes advantage of these kinds of disasters. As Rob Emanuael once said, " Dont let a good crisis go to waste." Everyone knows the gulf coast fisheries are on the ropes, and the blowout just gave the watermen free pay days for catches they would never have made considering the overfished state of US waters. Remember something called Redfish? Orange Roughy? Seen them lately? Farm raised Talapia, the now ever present junk fish capable of being raised virtually in sewage has taken their place. So is it any wonder that the courts are willing to continue with the free cash giveaway?

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