BP reaches a settlement in a portion of the Deepwater Horizon litigation. BP attempts to shift more blame to Transocean and Halliburton. Settlement leaves most claims unresolved.
Steffy: Settlement raises questions for victim's families.
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Late last Friday (can we say under cover of darkness...) BP reached a settlement with businesses and individual plaintiffs affected by the 2010 blowout.
In their statement, BP says the amount of the settlement is $7.8 billion and would comprise two separate agreements, one to resolve economic loss claims — including $2.3 billion toward claims related to the Gulf seafood industry — and another to resolve medical claims.
This total is to be paid from the $20 billion fund initially established after the disaster, which has already paid out an estimated $6 billion through various disbursements, including Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
BP CEO Bob Dudley regurgitated the usual corporate boilerplate...
“The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast,” CEO Dudley said in the statement.Blah, blah, blah... Do you have a horse, Dudds?
But the large lady vocalist isn't ready to perform just yet, because in this settlement with BP and the Plaintiff's Steering Committee (PSC - new magic acronym) not all legal items will be handled under this additional legal cover.
BP and others involved in the gusher still face civil claims from federal and state governments related to possible violation of pollution laws, and the Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation.
Partners Transocean and Halliburton have not settled with business plaintiffs. (See next story...)
The trial was scheduled to start yesterday in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans, but Barbier has now delayed the start indefinitely after the one-week postponement to allow time to reach the settlement.
In a brief order, Barbier postponed that trial indefinitely. He said the settlement will “require substantial changes to the current . . . trial plan” and that remaining parties in the case will need time to “reassess their respective positions.”Several companies have already received settlements, but some could also see liabilities of their own.
Weatherford International, which provided the float collar used in the final cementing of the well, settled with BP last year in exchange for protection against any compensatory claims, such as harm to the local economy. Barbier then dismissed its case as to any remaining claims.Okay... Now that you sort of know the situation...here is the rest of the story in the next little blue block...
PSC settlement makes some of BP's legal problems less complex, but more complicated for partners Transocean and Halliburton.
The agreement reached with the Plaintiff's Steering Committee allows some liabilities to be shifted from BP and onto other entities involved in the Deepwater Horizon, most notable Transocean, the rig owner, and Halliburton, the contractor for the cementing job on the Macondo well, which failed in the blowout.
“The dynamic changes because it puts more pressure on Transocean and Halliburton to settle, and if they hold out, it presents more ways for plaintiffs to recover what they’re owed,” said Steve Herman, co-liaison counsel for the steering committee.But it wasn't just us! It wasn't! It was those... those other guys! It's their fault! We're victims!
In announcing the settlement late Friday, BP said the deal provides that “to the extent permitted by law, BP will assign to the PSC certain of its claims, rights and recoveries against Transocean and Halliburton for damages not recoverable from BP.”The fox guards the henhouse, and the 8000-pound gorilla wins...
Transocean spokesman Jared Allen said the facts of the case are unchanged, and the offshore drilling giant is prepared to go to trial if necessary.But you know that they are pissed. They (Halliburton/Transocean) are getting the fetid end of the legal stick, but damn... I can't bring myself to support Chaneyburton. I couldn't get that drunk...
The whole settlement/not-settlement/big vs. little may indeed be too big to kill now. But the lawyers win even if no one else does...
The $7.8 billion payout agreed to Friday is BP’s best estimate of what it will cost to meet outstanding claims. This figure is not capped (we can be thankful for small favors, I guess) so there is a possibility that it final total could be higher.
But the amount is significantly less than that BP can afford, and probably won't require BP to spend money that it had not already agreed to pay. And the $7.8 billion figure represents only a part of BP’s 2011 profits, which were nearly $26 billion.
More yada, yada, yada from the Duddster...
"From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s CEO, in a statement issued Friday night. "The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."As Friday's decision splits off large chunks of business and individual claims, the question of environmental damage remains, and this could be most expensive for BP and partners, if the actions are seriously - and correctly - pursued.
Friday’s settlement effectively split off individual claims from the thornier issues of assessing and paying for long-term environmental damage. Those questions will begin to be addressed in the civil suits brought by several states and the U.S. government under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act alleging BP acted negligently.Debarment...plus perp walks for Tony and Dudds, and huge, gigantic, bankruptcy-producing mega-fines would be nice.
Never gonna happen... Better set the sights a teeny bit lower...
Loren Steffy relates how - even after an "acceptable" monetary settlement - questions will often still remain about how, and why, injuries and deaths occurred.
As Katherine Rodriguez read about the tentative settlement between BP and thousands of businesses and individuals, the memories flooded back.Please take a few minutes to read Steffy's piece. It's worth your time.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said Donald Vidrine should undergo a medical exam. Vidrine was one of BP’s well site leaders on the Deepwater Horizon and he has claimed medical problems should prevent him from being questioned. Rig owner Transocean Ltd. wants to question him.
And finally, the multi-billion-dollar, eternally universal question...whose pockets will be fatter? My bet wouldn't be on the people most affected...
BP settlement raises numerous questions for oil spill victims. (An editorial from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and something else worth a look...)
The gist of the editorial:
Indeed, there are questions as to whether the new compensation process and the opt-out time line are being designed to retain the majority of claimants -- even those who avoided the lawsuit -- in order to grow the pool of plaintiffs and the potential legal fees for the plaintiff steering committee.Ya think?
PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
|2-28-12 01:59 AM||Gulf Watchers Tuesday - BP trial delayed a week for settlement talks - BP Catastrophe AUV #581||peraspera|
|2-21-12 06:19 PM||Gulf Watchers Tuesday - Before "The Trials", the Settlements Begin - BP Catastrophe AUV #580||Lorinda Pike|
|2-17-12 06:30 PM||GW Friday Block Party: Sports Edition||Phil S 33|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
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