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BP, plaintiffs ask judge to approve $7.8 billion oil spill settlement

The class-action deal would reportedly resolve 100,000 claims stemming from economic and physical hardship related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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:

Deepwater Horizon: One year later

Feds to pursue gross negligence claims in BP oil spill case

Florida attorney general asks judge to delay approval of BP oil spill settlement

Litigation: First criminal charges filed in the BP oil spill disaster

Chevron fraud case heads to U.S. as Ecuadorean judge orders seizure of the company’s assets

Nigerians bring pollution case against Shell in the Netherlands

Exxon Mobil faces lawsuits over Yellowstone River oil spill

Alanna Byrne

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