BP asks court to reject some spill claims

By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Allen Johnson Jr.
Bloomberg News

BP Plc urged a U.S. judge to dismiss hundreds of lawsuits from Gulf Coast residents and businesses seeking economic damages from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

A lawyer for BP argued today in federal court in New Orleans that spill victims can only sue for economic losses under specific laws governing offshore spills and that lawsuits filed under other statutes should be dismissed. The London-based oil company also said spill victims are obligated to pursue their claims for resolution through a $20 billion trust fund BP established for that purpose before they can sue.

“BP’s position is not that every single claim needs to be dismissed,” Andrew Langan, BP’s lawyer, told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier at today’s hearing. Claims that have been improperly filed or not yet presented to BP’s trust fund should be dismissed, he said.

More than 4.1 million barrels of crude gushed into the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Macondo well blew out off the Louisiana coast in April 2010. Thousands of coastal tourism businesses, property owners, commercial fishing interests and seafood processors have sued BP and its contractors in about 450 lawsuits, which are gathered for joint pretrial processing before Barbier.

Earlier this year, BP and its contractors filed court papers outlining positions they contend undercut the oil spill- damages suits on legal grounds.

Environmentalist Arguments

Environmentalists and lawyers for spill victims told Barbier today that none of the economic-damage claims or defendants should be dismissed at this stage of the litigation. They asked him to allow all claims to proceed to trial at the earliest possible date.

—With assistance from Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan.

1 Comment

  1. James Baudoin

    I worked for BP an when I went to write up a BP employee for a saftey infraction, I was run off of their facility. The Facility was an Production Platform out of Venice, La. called the AmberJack. Most of their hands were lazy, an did not venture outside that often. Only when a malfunction or a near miss would they go an check on equipment. All the Grunt Work was done by us Hired Laborers. I knew One Person that would go around an Basically Oversee the Whole Operation, that 5-8 personel should have been Overseeing, he was the Mechanic for BP. He was doing the Operators Jobs, plus the Jobs of the Other Crew, because the other Crew was Lazier than the Crew I was working under. That is what is Operating in Our Back Yards.
    I Believe BP should be out there on there Hands an Knees cleaning up Their Mess an Paying for Every Little Claim No Matter What the Claim Should Be PERIOD. We have to live with Chemicals an Carcenogens that were disperssed in the Gulf of Mexico. Those Chemicals are still out there.
    When I Operated a Production Platform we could not use a Dispersant to cover up a Oil Sheen, but BP Pumped Tons Of Gallons of Dispersants to Cover up Their Negligance (Oil Gushing Out Under Water) All that Crude is Sitting on the Bottom of The Gulf of Mexico. It is Not Going Anywhere!!!! God Help Us and Our Children an Inhabitants to come.

    #1