BP Admits to Causing Deaths

Photo of Daniel Horowitz

According to an article from the Houston Chronicle, a federal judge has approved a deal that allows BP to plead guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. BP has agreed to a $4 billion fine, probation and independent monitoring. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance's decision came during an emotional hearing in New Orleans and was issued over the objections of victims of the disaster and relatives of some of the 11 workers who were killed on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. "The government has caught the bank robber and cut a deal with the criminals for return of the money and left the people shot in the bank robbery to fend for themselves," said rig survivor Buddy Trahan, who suffered extensive injuries in the blast but hasn't been compensated by BP. Trahan was among eight victims of the disaster, including the widows and fathers of some of the rig workers who were killed and people who were affected by the spill, who spoke of how BP's negligence changed their lives.

A BP executive apologized directly to the families and insisted that the company has fully accepted its responsibility. "We are doing what we can to prevent something like this from happening again," Keller, a BP vice president, told the judge. He added, "We at BP will not forget what happened on April 20, 2010. We are truly sorry." While the guilty plea ends the criminal case against BP, the British oil giant still faces the prospect of having to pay billions more in civil fines over the amount of oil that spilled. A civil trial is set to begin in the same courthouse Feb. 25.

The catastrophe started when a well a mile beneath the sea blew out on April 20, 2010, about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The blow out caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, which later sank. The resulting spill was the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. According to government estimates, some 4.9 million barrels of oil, or 206 million gallons, was discharged by the well. The crude stained beaches, killed birds and fish and drove tourists away. BP has already paid out more than $24 billion on clean-up efforts, to compensate victims and to cover other spill-related costs. During the hearing, several victims suggested the punishment BP agreed to wasn't harsh enough for a company with pockets as deep as BP. They asked Vance to reject the deal and force BP to go to trial. "It may be a record fine, but we are not here today to set records," said Billy Anderson, whose son, Jason, was killed on the rig. "We are here to punish BP. To punish a corporation, you must do the same thing you do a punish a child. The first thing you have to do is get their attention." Keith Jones, whose son, Gordon, was killed on the rig, described the fine as "petty cash." "BP doesn't want to feel the pain and they won't have to, not as much," he told the judge.

If you or someone you know has been injured by working on an oil rig, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories