Some fishermen, businesses and property owners affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have appealed a federal judge’s ruling approving a multibillion dollar class action settlement that BP reached with a committee of lawyers assigned to steer the hundreds of suits filed over the disaster.
At least eight groups of victims have filed appeals in the last two weeks with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Lack of fairness and due process are among the claims raised in the appeals.
Legal experts had said appeals of U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling were a virtual certainty.
The 5th Circuit has not indicated when it will consider the appeals.
Last month, Barbier approved the portion of the settlement that dealt with economic and property damages. Earlier this month, he approved the medical benefits portion of the settlement.
Thousands of claimants have agreed to accept the deal, and BP has estimated that it will pay out $7.8 billion or economic, property and health claims — although the agreement BP reached with lawyers for plaintiffs last year does not have a cap on damages.
Eleven workers were killed when an undersea well owned by BP blew out on April 20, 2010, and caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off Louisiana. The resulting oil spill was the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.
BP already has spent or committed tens of billions of dollars on cleanup costs and compensating victims. It is set to plead guilty on Tuesday to criminal charges, including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress. BP has agreed to pay a $4 billion criminal penalty.