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$7.8 billion BP settlement wins preliminary court approval

Judge Carl Barbier schedules final hearing for Nov. 8

BP has won preliminary court approval for a proposed $7.8 billion settlement with victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The decision came one week after U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier announced that he was “leaning in favor” of approving the deal.  Yesterday he called the settlement “fair, reasonable, adequate, entered in good faith, free of collusion, and within the range of possible judicial approval.”

Florida’s attorney general Pamela Bondi had asked the judge to delay approval of the deal, citing concerns that key stakeholders had not had enough time to review its terms, but Barbier found that these objections “did not warrant denial of preliminary approval.”

Barbier scheduled a  fairness hearing for Nov. 8, at which he will address remaining objections. Any victims who are still unhappy with the deal will be allowed to pursue separate lawsuits against the petroleum giant.

Even if the settlement is approved, however, BP will still face civil and criminal suits from both its former partners and federal and state governments. For instance, former BP engineer Kurt Mix was arrested last week for allegedly destroying evidence related to the spill and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has intimated that more arrests may follow.

Alanna Byrne

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