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Florida sues BP for oil spill damages

Mississippi, Alabama and Lousiana have already filed lawsuits related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Three years to the day after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Florida became the fourth state to sue for damages over the 2010 catastrophe.

According to the lawsuit, employees at BP and its drilling partner—the cement contractor Halliburton Inc.—ignored warnings of a leak before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and dumping oil for miles along the Gulf Coast.

The suit also accuses BP of failing to replace the batteries in a blowout preventer, which did not automatically activate as intended. “BP knew or should have known that the manufacturer recommended replacement of the batteries in the battery packs at least once per year,” the complaint says.

As for Halliburton, Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, alleges in the suit that the cement barriers the company installed to protect the well against oil pressure were faulty.

Bondi argues that the disaster caused Florida to lose tax revenue—including income from sales taxes, gasoline taxes and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol—as well as tourism dollars. The state is seeking restitution of these lost revenues, as well as punitive damages.

Mississippi filed suit in relation to the spill on Friday; numerous other counties and cities affected by the disaster have already sued over the disaster, along with Louisiana and Alabama, which are involved in a federal trial to assign blame for the spill.

That trial, the first phase of which ended last week, centers on whether BP, Halliburton and rig operator Transocean Ltd. were guilty of gross negligence in connection with the spill. If U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier finds that the defendants acted with reckless indifference or wanton misconduct, the three companies could face significantly increased penalties under the Clean Water Act.

Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of the spill, see:

First phase of BP spill trial ends

BP settlement costs rise again

BP enters plea in Gulf oil spill criminal case

BP will pay $4.5 billion in Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement

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

Feds to pursue gross negligence claims in BP oil spill case

Transocean GC resigns, effective immediately

 

Alanna Byrne

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