BP Plc and those affected by the devastating 2010 Gulf Oil Spill have been on opposite sides of a courtroom for years. But now the two parties agree on one thing: It’s time to reach a settlement.
The oil and gas giant and lawyers for more than 100,000 individuals and businesses hurt by the spill asked a federal judge Thursday to approve a proposed $7.8 billion settlement in the case. The two sides reached the deal in March, and it subsequently won approval from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in May, but Barbier called for a “fairness hearing” to allow claimants to voice possible objections to the settlement.
Thousands of plaintiffs—including restaurant and hotel owners, fishermen and Gulf residents who suffered economic losses or medical ailments in the wake of the spill—have opted out of the class action settlement. Attorneys for some of those plaintiffs spoke at the hearing.
Although Barbier did not immediately rule on the settlement, he seemed to signal that he is leaning in favor of the deal, saying that some of the objections were “not made in good faith and bordered on being frivolous.”
BP estimates that it will pay out $7.8 billion as part of the settlement, but since the damages are uncapped, the total cost could exceed that amount. In addition, the company still faces civil and criminal claims from the U.S. government, several Gulf states and its drilling partners.
Read more at Thomson Reuters.
For more InsideCounsel coverage of BP and other oil companies, see: