BP: Ruling imposes ‘vast and unjustified costs’
by The Associated Press
December 31, 2013 10:00 PM | 712 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW ORLEANS — BP on Monday renewed its request for a federal appeals court to permanently block settlement payments to businesses that can’t trace their losses directly to the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a court filing, BP attorneys argued that a Dec. 24 ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will impose more “vast and unjustified costs” on the company unless a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overrules him.

Barbier said in last week’s order that BP’s settlement was designed to avoid the delays that would result from a “claim-by claim analysis” of whether each claim can be traced to the spill.

Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit panel ruled that Barbier erred when he initially refused to consider BP’s “causation” arguments.

In response to that ruling, Barbier agreed with plaintiffs’ lawyers that BP can’t make these arguments because the company took a contradictory position on the same issue when it urged Barbier last year to approve the settlement.

Steve Herman and Jim Roy, two of the plaintiffs’ lawyers who brokered the settlement with BP, said in a statement last week that Gulf Coast business owners should be pleased that Barbier “once again rejected BP’s efforts to rewrite history and the settlement.”

BP lawyers, however, said Barbier’s Dec. 24 ruling is “yet another of (his) interpretive errors that has inflicted significant harm on BP.”

“Only this Court can provide the relief needed in these circumstances,” they told the 5th Circuit panel in Monday’s filing.

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