Managing the law of unintended consequences with lessons from BP and Gulliver

The core provisions of a settlement agreement must be carefully crafted, reviewed and followed

What can happen after a settlement agreement is finalized is just as important as what happens before it was signed. Two recent cases illustrate the unintended consequences when a final resolution was lost through faulty drafting, by post signature conduct of the parties, or by a fundamental misunderstanding of what it was to which the parties actually agreed.

This was evident in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ unique post-settlement decision in the Deep Water Horizon matter. The appeal addressed issues, which arose under a settlement agreement approved by the district court in December 2012. That settlement included a mechanism for presenting and processing claims for business losses arising out of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Contributing Author

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David McMahon

David McMahon is the Managing Partner in Barger & Wolen LLP’s San Francisco office. His practice focuses on large complex litigation. He has worked on...

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Contributing Author

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Robert G. Levy

Robert Levy is a partner in the San Francisco office of Barger & Wolen LLP. For the past 33 years, he has been defending major...

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