BP and Lawyers for Gulf Oil Spill Victims Seek $7.8 Billion Partial Settlement

Posted in BP British Petroleum,Deepwater Horizon,Louisiana Maritime News,Maritime Lawsuits on November 8, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, La. — According to Bloomberg Businessweek, BP and Lawyers representing Gulf oil spill victims as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster of April 10, 2010, are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to approve a proposed $7.8 billion partial settlement of claims, while attorneys for thousands of plaintiffs seek rejection or modification of the agreement.

BP’s proposed partial settlement of private claims was reached March 2, days before a trial on liability for the spill. The settlement establishes two separate classes, one for economic loss and the other for physical injuries related to the spill or the cleanup. BP estimates the settlement, which is uncapped, is worth about $7.8 billion.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who granted preliminary approval to the settlement in May, is considering arguments on the agreement at a fairness hearing that started today in New Orleans.

Lawyers for the objectors said in court papers before today’s hearing that the BP settlement underpays some claimants and unfairly excludes others.

Judge Barbier began today’s hearing by noting many objectors to the settlement don’t have the right to challenge the accord. ‘Not Affected’

“If you are excluded from the settlements, your rights are not affected,” the judge said at the hearing today. Barbier said spill victims not covered by the accord can press ahead with their claims in court. “If you are excluded, you have no legal standing to object to the settlement.”

The Bloomberg article went on to say, that the settlement excludes claims of financial institutions, casinos, private plaintiffs in parts of Florida and Texas, and residents and businesses claiming harm from the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep-water drilling prompted by the spill. It also doesn’t cover federal government claims and those of Gulf Coast states Louisiana and Alabama, or lawsuits against co-defendants.

Posted by Louisiana maritime lawyer, Gordon, Elias & Seely.