BP Oil Spill: New Developments

Oil company BP Plc announced on May 21 that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether businesses must prove that they were directly harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill in order to collect payments from the 2012 settlement. The decision comes after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider its determination that businesses did not need to prove direct harm in order to collect from the settlement fund. BP will ask the 5th Circuit to continue a freeze on payments until the Supreme Court acts on the matter. BP initially estimated that it would pay $7.8 billion to resolve spill claims.

U.S. Judge Keith Ellison of Houston has allowed a group of BP shareholder to pursue a class action against the company accusing it of misleading the shareholders by understating the severity of the oil spill. Pension funds in New York and Ohio persuaded the court to issue the ruling. The action will add to BP’s costs associated with the 2010 spill. The company announced that it has incurred a total of $42.7 billion pre-tax charges since the oil spill.

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