BP will take Gulf spill settlement fight to Supreme Court

HOUSTON – BP said Wednesday it will take the courtroom fight over its multibillion-dollar oil spill settlement to the Supreme Court.

The London-based oil company has argued for months that it has paid potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to claimants who were not affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, violating its interpretation of the $9.2 billion settlement it reached with plaintiffs’ attorneys in 2012.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday denied BP’s request for a rehearing on its settlement dispute before the entire court. The vote was 8 to 5.

BP said Wednesday it will ask the appeals court to not issue a mandate on the matter until the Supreme Court reaches its own judgment. The move would keep billions in liabilities in limbo as it holds in place a court mandate to stay business economic-loss claims.

The company said the appeals court’s ruling would redefine the settlement’s requirements for oil spill claimants and draw more companies to enter the class-action settlement or sue the company “in protracted litigation that would delay compensation for true victims.”

“No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement,” the company said in a written statement. “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.”

Legal experts told FuelFix this week that given the lower court’s opinions, it would be “a long shot” for BP’s arguments on the settlement to succeed at the Supreme Court.