A proposed financial settlement of the thousands of lawsuits filed against oil giant BP is before the federal judge overseeing the massive litigation. At a hearing on Nov. 8, attorneys for BP and plaintiffs’ attorneys who were part of the negotiation asked the judge to give final approval to the settlement, which is expected to cost BP around $7.8 billion dollars to compensate residents of the Gulf Coast whose businesses and lives were devastated by the massive 2010 oil spill.
The judge granted preliminary approval to the settlement in May, which gave plaintiffs the chance to decide whether to take part in it or pursue legal claims on their own. Thousands have done so, but one of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys said that the settlement could include more than 100,000 plaintiffs’ claims being dismissed.
The details of the proposed settlement are lengthy, with the document submitted the court running hundreds of pages long. For example, claims related to the commercial seafood industry would divide up a total of $2.3 billion, which BP’s attorney described as “generous” given industry revenue prior to the disaster. The company also agreed to pay the medical costs for residents and cleanup workers whose health was damaged by the spill, and to set up an outreach program for those who develop health problems in coming years.
The overall settlement is uncapped, meaning that BP could end up paying more than the $7.8 billion it estimates. It does not involve the suit brought by the U.S. government and the governments of the states affected by the spill.
Source: The Seattle Times, “Federal judge urged to approve BP settlement,” Michael Kunzelman, Nov. 8, 2012
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