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BP and Cohorts Try to Reach Oil Spill Settlement Before Facing New Orleans’ Judge

Posted on Mar 2, 2012 in BP Oil Spill, Legislation, National Issues

[caption id="attachment_2805" align="alignnone" width="460" caption="The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after the April 2010 disaster"][/caption] U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has a tough decision to make: who among the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill - BP, Transocean, or Halliburton - deserves to pay billions of dollars for the damage that was caused to Gulf Coast businesses and residents? $26 billion dollars of damage resulted from the catastrophic 2010 oil spill - the largest in U.S. history. However, BP and others are racing to strike a settlement deal with the federal government before the Judge Barbier starts hearing evidence on March 5. “There’s tremendous pressure on everybody to settle,” said Anthony Sabino, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York. With billions of dollars at stake, “They will talk until the moment the judge hits that gavel -- and beyond.” Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability and mass-tort law at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the case resolved “on the courthouse steps.” One reason government and plaintiffs’ lawyers haven’t agreed to settle yet could be that the government wants BP and others to suffer the bad publicity generated from evidence and testimony in the courtroom. “That kind of negative publicity never does any company any good,” he said. “That may be a factor in the settlement calculation.” Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, declined to comment on the trial or potential outcomes stemming from a settlement.

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