December 12, 2014
The Supreme Court has rejected BP’s legal challenge over a compensation deal related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This means that the oil giant will have to compensate victims that suffered from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
With this decision, almost every business in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Galveston, Jefferson, Orange, Chambers County and Florida can make a claim. This includes every store, facility or office within this vicinity.
BP is concerned that some of the compensation money may fall prey to bogus claims and that it why it had asked the Supreme Court to consider whether some of the businesses and people making claims under the settlement included individuals who had not suffered any injury from the oil spill. For example, BP wanted to contest a claim of $450,000 that was awarded to a Mississippi hotel despite the fact that it had closed down due to an unrelated fire. Similarly, a Louisiana nursing home was awarded $662,000 despite having closed down before the oil spill.
The 2010 oil disaster had claimed the lives of 11 people and is considered to be one of the largest offshore oil spills in history. Seventeen people were injured. The spill spread 200 million gallons of oil across the Gulf and its shores for 87 days.
The oil company is trying its best to limit payments over the disaster. It had initially estimated that it would pay approximately $7.8 billion but now it says it cannot give a reliable estimate.
According to Patrick Juneau, the court administrator, BP has already paid $2.4 billion in business economic loss claims out of a total of $4.25 billion individual and business claims.
BP is also preparing for another trial in January. This is related to whether the company should pay $18 billion in Clean Water Act penalties. The company has set aside $43 billion to resolve all these claims. A US judge had ruled back in September that BP had been grossly negligent in the lead up to the 2010 oil spill. Judge Carl Barbier had also found BP subcontractors Transocean and Halliburton negligent.