Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Plaintiffs appeal BP spill payouts

CLAIMS ISSUES:As some plaintiffs appealed the US$7.8 billion settlement, BP faced further problems with a US civil liability trial scheduled for next month

Bloomberg

Thousands of individuals and businesses that sued BP PLC over damage from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have appealed a judge’s approval of a US$7.8 billion class-action settlement.

Brent Coon, a lawyer for plaintiffs who opted out of the settlement, said in a filing on Friday in federal court in New Orleans that he is appealing the judge’s orders approving the settlement. An attached list names more than 10,000 individuals and businesses who are challenging the accord.

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS

Coon said last year that his clients would not participate in the class-action settlement because there were too many technical problems with the claims process, which he called “slow, arduous and unexplainable.”

BP agreed in March last year to pay an estimated US$7.8 billion to resolve most private plaintiffs’ claims for economic loss, property damage and injuries. The settlement was reached days before a scheduled trial on liability for the 2010 spill.

LIABILITY

BP faces additional billions of US dollars in civil pollution fines and costs to restore natural resources damaged by the spill.

US District Judge Carl Barbier has scheduled a non-jury trial for Feb. 25 in New Orleans, where he will apportion civil liability among BP and the other companies involved in the disaster.

In a court filing on Friday, BP asked that criminal indictments against it and its employees not be used as evidence in the civil trial.

BP has agreed to plead guilty to 14 counts, including 11 for felony seaman’s manslaughter, and to pay US$4 billion.

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