Appeals Court Not to Revisit BP Oil Spill Compensation Decision

Posted by George Backwell
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
File image

A U.S. appeals court will not revisit a decision to reject BP Plc's bid to block businesses from recovering money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even if those businesses could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March voted 2-1 to authorize payments on so-called business economic loss claims, and said an injunction preventing payments should be lifted. BP asked the entire 5th Circuit to rehear the case.

However, the 5th Circuit voted 8-5 to let the March ruling stand, according to a court filing made public on Monday.

In a statement, BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the company is disappointed in the decision, and is considering its options. Plaintiff attorneys Steve Herman and Jim Roy said in a statement they are "pleased that the court of appeals agreed that BP must honor its contract."

The decision is a setback for BP's effort to limit payments over the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP's Macondo oil well.

The disaster killed 11 people and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

A lower court judge had ruled that BP would have to live with its earlier interpretation of a multibillion dollar settlement agreement over the spill, in which certain businesses claiming losses were presumed to have suffered harm.

BP argued that this would allow businesses to recover for fictitious losses, but the 5th Circuit rejected its appeal.

The case is In re: Deepwater Horizon, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 13-30315 and 13-30329.

(By Dan Levine)

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