A federal judge in New Orleans has ruled that BP plc (NYSE: BP) must pay some claims against Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) related to the Gulf of Mexico disaster that killed 11 workers and dumped 5 million barrels of oil into the water. A court ruling earlier this year denied BP’s claims that Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) should have to pay compensatory damages related to the spill.
The recent ruling enforces the indemnification of Halliburton on third-party claims against the company, even if Halliburton is judged to be guilty of negligence. Halliburton is still liable for punitive damages, if any. The two rulings against BP mean that the company is solely responsible for $15 billion in clean-up costs. Halliburton is also indemnified against civil penalties as a result of the ruling.
The judge did not rule on BP’s claim of fraud against Halliburton, which is based on BP’s claim that Halliburton did not reveal results of its cement tests. If that ruling goes against Halliburton, the company may be liable for damages.