Monday, February 25, 2013

$16 Billion Deal Could Avoid Lengthy Deepwater Horizon Trial

Posted by on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

The legal machinations surrounding the culpability in the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 and dumped millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico began turning in a Boise courtroom in July 2010 and could finally end in the next several days.

A seven-member panel of U.S. judges was hand-picked by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to conduct a Multidistrict Panel Litigation at the Boise U.S. Courthouse on July 29, 2010. That's where the justices heard arguments from lawyers on how thousands of lawsuits surrounding the disaster should proceed.

"The world is watching," attorney Steven Larson told the Boise courtroom in 2010.

Two-and-a-half years later, the U.S. government is reportedly considering offering a $16 billion deal to British Petroleum ahead of this week's scheduled civil trial. The settlement could avoid a lengthy and potentially risky trial, where BP is facing the biggest environmental fines every levied.

The deal could cover potential fines BP is expected to pay for violating the Clean Water Act and payments related to an environmental evaluation known as the Natural Resources Damage Assessment.

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