The deadline for lawyers on both sides of a proposed settlement designed to resolve billions of dollars in economic damage claims arising out of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been extended by Federal Judge Carl Barbier. BP and lawyers representing the victims of the oil spill (estimated to be over 100,000 individuals and businesses) were to have submitted the formal terms of the settlement to the US District Judge sitting in New Orleans. But the parties requested additional time and Judge Barbier extended the deadline to Wednesday morning so the parties could finish compiling supporting documentation and exhibits.
The settlement agreement was originally announced on March 2, and it is estimated that BP will pay out approximately $7.8 billion to resolve claims made by these individuals and businesses. But claims brought by the federal government and the Gulf states are not included in this settlement and will have to be dealt with in a separate negotiation or trial. These claims will be over the environmental damage caused by the Macondo well blowout on April 20, 2010. It is believed that more the $6 billion has been paid out already.
The current settlement calls for payments on claims made by commercial fishing vessels, captains, deckhands, cleanup workers and others who claim they suffered illnesses from exposure to the oil. Many other individual claims – including the claims of those injured or killed by the explosion – are not covered by the settlement.