Judge Carl Barbier of Louisiana’s Eastern District issued his FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW IN PHASE ONE TRIAL. The 150+ page document suggests that punitive damages may be appropriate as Plaintiff’s argument for same is “not without merit” according to Barbier. But, 5th Circuit precedent may preclude same.
And another interesting article (ie., a little more downbeat) to give balance against the more upbeat articles -
One of these decades, the size of BP's final bill for the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 may become clear. In the meantime, weary shareholders – who include almost everyone in the UK saving for retirement via a company pension – will reflect that the running total only ever seems to go up, despite constant expressions of confidence from the boardroom that this time the corporate lawyers really are sure of the strength of their case.
The company will appeal against the ruling in the US district court that it was guilty of "gross" negligence for the accident that killed 11 people and caused 2.5m or 4.2m barrels of oil (that's another dispute) to spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
On that word "gross" could hang about $15bn (£9bn). BP had made a provision of $3.5bn for simple negligence, but the gross variety could take the penalty to almost $18bn under the clean water act if the number of spilled barrels is indeed shown to be 4.2m. There is no point in trying to guess whether BP's appeal will succeed. All one can say is that Thursday's £5bn fall in BP's stock market value fairly reflects the increased legal risks: this ruling is a serious setback.
It is little consolation for investors that the snap reaction from the City said that, even in the event of $18bn liability, BP's dividend is safe at current levels. It's what the dividend could have been that's more financially relevant. For context, BP's dividend distribution is about $6bn a year currently – an $18bn bill, even if it arrives after several more years of courtroom fighting, must be paid from shareholders' pockets.
Is there any good news for BP investors to contemplate? Well, no, that big stake in Rosneft, the Kremlin's pet oil firm, now looks another outsized risk.
"The law is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case," the company said. "BP believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court."
Judge Barbier's point of view:-
BP ignored signs of trouble
Barbier said in his ruling Thursday that BP was warned about the dangers of numerous unexpected pressure "kicks" on the Macondo well ahead of the disaster.
BP's decision to keep drilling was "dangerous" and "motivated by profit," Barbier wrote.
BP also erred when it concluded that a well test conducted on the day of the explosion implied the site was safe, ignoring evidence that suggested possible looming disaster.
The judge faulted BP for not ordering additional tests as the situation would normally have required.
Nice for the wife, I know from connections involved in the clean up that there was very minimum impact on beaches (some patrolled for weeks and found very little). Exxon Valdez was a bigger pollution impact on shoreline (I was there) and what did the yanks do, just pressure washed the shoreline back into the sea... That is why they introduced the new laws..but did Exxon get murdered as much as they are trying to do to BP?
Gross Negligence amounts to reckless or willful conduct. I can't believe anyone, in their objective analysis, believes BP willfully wanted to create the spill. So, when the appellate court takes a look at this ruling, I'll be surprised if the judgment is affirmed.
This could drag on for years as with Exxon Valdez. So how long will it take for BP's sp to recover back to pre Macondo levels?
I totally agree with you this judge barbier is only interested in New Orleans and totally biast towards usa companys so the big court will look at the picture and side with BP then we can all move on.my wife is in Gulfport near New Orleans and says the beaches and area is lovely so as all she can see is oil fields surely these so called fisherman should fish somewhere else and stop making false claims eh
The truth will out eventually and this judge (who must get his decision making from the Simpsons equivalent), will be overridden by judges that have no personal bias....otherwise the rest of the world will just look at the USA legal system as a joke. IMHO. As for our PM, he should should stop looking up the backside of the USA. Every time that that have the urge, he just gets it on his face...
(Reuters) - The prospect of up to $18 billion (11.03 billion pounds) in new fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could encourage BP (BP.L) to sell off some of its Russian interests, which already look at risk of being dragged into a political standoff between Moscow and the West.
Shares in the British oil group dropped sharply on Thursday after a U.S. judge ruled it was "grossly negligent" in the April 2010 rig explosion and spill that killed 11 workers.
A day later, many analysts said the fall was overdone, pointing out the level of fines may not be determined for years and that BP could probably afford to pay them without any major asset sales, or a big cut to its dividend.
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