Energy Business

Court Decision Will Save BP Billions, Party Breaks Out at HQ

Long after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP PLC (NYSE: BP) continues to battle those who do not believe they were adequately compensated for the fallout. This has moved into the courts. As part of it, a settlement BP reached with lawyers for these aggrieved parties became subject to a fight over how it should be interpreted. The decision in BP’s favor likely will save it billions of dollars in future payment claims.

BP’s comment about the decision well sums up its enthusiasm about the decision:

BP is extremely pleased with today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit setting aside the claims administrator’s interpretation of the business economic loss framework in the settlement agreement BP reached with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee last year. Today’s ruling affirms what BP has been saying since the beginning: claimants should not be paid for fictitious or wholly non-existent losses. We are gratified that the systematic payment of such claims by the claims administrator must now come to an end.

As part of today’s decision, the Fifth Circuit has also reversed the District Court’s denial of BP’s motion for a preliminary injunction staying the payment of business economic loss claims under the agreement. The Fifth Circuit has ordered the District Court to “expeditiously craft” an injunction that stays payments to people who did not suffer “actual injury traceable to loss from the Deepwater Horizon accident” until the matter is “fully heard and decided through the judicial process.”

The Fifth Circuit has remanded the matter for further proceedings in the District Court.

The lawyers for the opposition and the opposition itself were not invited to the champagne party at BP’s headquarters. Most of the toasts were to BP’s attorneys. The justices of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit were invited, but apparently could not make it.