"Court Declines to Review Deal for Gulf Spill"

"A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a major decision in the long-running battle over the 2010 gulf oil spill, leaving in place an earlier ruling that forces the British oil company BP to pay some businesses for economic damages without the businesses having to prove the losses were directly caused by the spill.

The decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals leaves in place a March decision from a three-judge panel that said the agreement on how to compensate Gulf Coast businesses, which BP helped write and have approved, was being interpreted correctly. The judges said the company and plaintiffs’ lawyers had agreed to use an economic formula as a substitute for proof of direct causation.

BP has argued forcefully in court and in newspaper advertisements that the settlement was hijacked by corrupt trial lawyers and claims administrators. The company asked the full Fifth Circuit to review the decision of the three-judge panel. Of the 13 judges eligible to vote in the case, eight voted to leave the prior decision standing."

John Schwartz reports for the New York Times May 19, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014