The Associated Press reported today that the Supreme Court of the United States is leaving in place BP’s multibillion-dollar settlement with lawyers for businesses and residents over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – dealing another blow to BP’s efforts to derail the settlement BP originally signed off on. Consumer lawyers throughout the country hailed the Court’s decision as a victory for those adversely affected by the gigantic oil spill.
Procedurally, the Supreme Court justices did not make any official comments on Monday, December 8, 2014, when the Court rejected the London-based oil giant’s arguments that lower courts misinterpreted settlement terms and put BP on the hook to pay inflated and bogus claims by businesses. BP had hoped the SCOTUS would allow a different interpretation of the settlement agreement, which in turn would lower the amount of money BP would pay on claims that have been or will be submitted. As for those claimants whose claims have not been addressed, most lawyers believe yesterday’s decision will allow the economic and property damage claims to become final – meaning the filing of claims must take place in the next six months.
The AP noted, “BP’s Macondo well blew up on April 20, 2010, killing 11 men. An estimated 103 million to 176 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico before the mile-deep well was capped July 15, 2010. Lawyers for BP and the government agree that 34 million gallons was captured before it could pollute coastal marshes and fishing grounds.”