BP mounts last-ditch effort to limit Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement, appeals to U.S. supreme court after finding financial awards vastly exceed its expectationsPosted by Jim at Thursday, May 22, 2014
By Terry Macalister
21 May 2014
(theguardian.com) – BP last night mounted a last ditch attempt to limit the costs of its settlement for the victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by lodging an appeal to the US supreme court to make a final ruling.
Earlier this week the British oil group lost an argument at the fifth circuit appeal court of New Orleans that compensation money was being spent on businesses not directly affected by the environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon.
BP originally anticipated that it would have to pay $7.8bn (£4.6bn) under a court settlement only to find the financial awards vastly exceeding this figure, partly as a result of what it believes are inappropriate claims.
"No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement BP will continue to fight to return the settlement to its original, explicit, and lawful purpose – the compensation of claimants who suffered actual losses due to the spill," it said in a statement.
BP has been spurred on the fact that only eight of the 13 judges in the appeal court accepted the case against BP with some of the others making clear they strongly disagreed.
"The dissenting opinions emphasize that the issues raised by BP 'present questions of exceptional importance,' reflect a deep divide in approaches among the federal appellate courts, and merit supreme court review," the oil group added in its statement. [more]
By Jonathan Stempel, with additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Bernadette Baum
21 May 2014
NEW YORK (Reuters) - BP Plc, seeking to limit costs related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether it must pay some businesses for economic damages without proof that the spill caused such losses.
The British oil company will appeal Monday's decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans not to disturb a divided three-judge panel's March ruling over the payments. It will also ask the 5th Circuit not to require that it pay businesses for economic losses during the appeal.
BP has complained that the settlement it negotiated to cover business loss claims is being interpreted incorrectly by the businesses' lawyers and claims administrator Patrick Juneau. It said making payments unrelated to the spill could push the settlement's estimated $9.2 billion cost significantly higher.
"No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement," BP said.
A spokesman for Stephen Herman and James Roy, lawyers representing the businesses, had no immediate comment.
Dissenting from the 5th Circuit's 8-5 decision to let the panel ruling stand, Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement said the holdings "funnel BP's cash into the pockets of undeserving non-victims … Another court surely must resolve this."
The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig led to 11 deaths and the largest offshore U.S. oil spill. BP has taken $42.7 billion of pre-tax charges so far.
BP's appeal was announced one day after U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison in Houston let a group of shareholders pursue a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of understating the spill's severity.
Ellison said investors who bought BP's American depository shares between April 26 and May 28, 2010 may pursue claims that BP publicly "lowballed" the oil flow rate, and that the share price "did not reflect the magnitude of the disaster."
He also denied class certification to a separate group of shareholders that claimed BP overstated its ability to manage safety issues prior to the explosion. Ellison said this denial was because it was too hard to calculate damages. [more]