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- Sunday, January 12, 2014 - From Print Edition


WASHINGTON: A US federal appeals court upheld Friday a multibillion-dollar settlement between BP and the coastal residents and businesses hit by the company´s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.


The British energy giant reached a $7.8 billion settlement in 2012 with thousands of claimants struck by the worst environmental disaster in US history.


But it had been challenging the way Patrick Juneau, a court-appointed administrator of claims, calculates companies´ compensation for lost profits.


The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that US District Judge Carl Barbier was correct in rejecting a BP bid to require companies to prove that their losses were directly linked to the spill before getting a payout.


The plaintiffs were quick to hail the decision.”Today´s ruling is an enormous victory for the Gulf, and an important step forward in ensuring that every eligible claimant is fully compensated according to the objective, transparent formulas spelled out in the settlement agreement that BP co-authored and agreed to,” lawyers Steve Herman and Jim Roy said in a statement.


BP said it would weigh its options to press for clarification from the courts on the minimal requirements for plaintiffs to qualify for loss claims.