BP, the company responsible for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is dealing with more setbacks in the aftermath of the disaster, after a federal appeals court ruled that the company must stick to its agreement , paying some gulf area businesses for economic damages without explicit proof that the damages were caused by the spill.
Although BP argued that such settlement agreement had been unfairly misinterpreted, and that it was being forced to pay for damages unrelated to the accident, Judge Leslie H. Southwick ruled that the company was bound by the agreement that it signed, and that explicit evidence was not required to prove losses due to the spill.
“These requirements are not as protective of BP’s present concerns as might have been achievable, but they are the protections that were accepted by the parties and approved by the district court,” wrote Judge Southwick, who was joined in the result by Judge James L. Dennis.
BP had initially estimated the damages at 7.8 billion, but have since increased that estimate to 9.2, acknowleding that many of the settlements are still unresolved.
The oil company is displeased with the ruling, and in a statement by a BP spokesperson, said: “BP had asked the court to prevent payments to business economic loss claimants whose alleged injuries are not traceable to the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill,” adding that the claimants were “not proper class members under the terms of the settlement.”
The same three judges have, however, revisited the accounting procedures in determining the damages, which may effect the total settlement amounts.
A Cum Laude Honors graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Alabama tort law expert Mike Roberts has successfully litigated cases covering civil litigation, personal injury, negligence, product liability, wrongful death and fraud. He is the author of six editions of Alabama Tort Law, and is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.