BP has asked a US judge to approve a settlement of thousands of claims worth US$ 7.8 billion made by plaintiffs whose businesses, property or health were negatively impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident.
Lawyers for BP explained the move, “The settlement will bring full compensation to all class members, including those on the Gulf Coast, while resolving a major component of the Deepwater Horizon litigation … The alternative is all-out litigation that would last many years and have an uncertain outcome for class members.”
Some claims are excluded from the settlement, these include: claims made by financial institutes, casinos, private plaintiffs from Florida and Texas and those affected by the legislation halting deepwater drilling brought in after the spill.
There has been some criticism of the settlement with some plaintiffs raising objections to the deal. BP has countered these objections by saying that people can simply opt out of the settlement and that by objecting, they are preventing many others from receiving the compensation they deserve.
So far 200 people have objected, whilst 983 claimants have opted out. At least 100 000 people could benefit from the settlement.
Lawyers representing plaintiffs have also been critical of the settlement. Brent Coon, a lawyer representing 13 000 plaintiffs was quoted as saying, “The class settlement is massive and extraordinarily complicated, yet still devoid of some important specifics … The settlement itself comprises nearly 1200 pages that are so convoluted and confusing that it is difficult even for lawyers to understand and interpret.”
He also argued that the settlement “is only a partial settlement which means that even a determination whether one is actually included or excluded from the settlement requires careful analysis and potentially random guesswork regarding how one’s industry will be treated.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley