MONTGOMERY, ALA. (December 8, 2014) – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the BP oil spill class settlement is final, denying BP’s petitions for writs of certiorari appealing the settlement. In August, BP filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming the New Orleans federal court and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly approved the multi-billion dollar settlement that the oil giant itself helped draft and then approved in March 2012. The settlement is now final and there are six months remaining to file claims in the settlement process.
“Today’s ruling is a huge victory for the Gulf, and should finally put to rest BP’s two-year attack on its own settlement. With its order, the Supreme Court held – as had the lower courts – that BP must stand by its word and honor its contract,” said Rhon Jones, Principal & Toxic Torts Section Head of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. Jones serves on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for the litigation. “With the high court’s rejection of BP’s attempts to re-write history, Patrick Juneau, the court-appointed oil spill claims administrator, can get on with the business of processing and paying eligible claims.”
The settlement compensates individuals and businesses harmed by the April 20, 2010, explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. The event killed 11 workers and set off the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history as oil from the blown-out well poured into the Gulf for weeks.
BP has been trying to suspend payments on claims to businesses harmed by the spill and overturn its agreement ever since last summer, when it became clear that the actual cost of settling thousands of outstanding claims far exceeded BP’s estimations.
In March, the appellate court struck down BP’s latest attempt to undo the settlement, prompting it to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case. The Supreme Court already rejected a petition BP submitted in June to keep all payments on claims it is challenging frozen pending.
With its ruling, the Supreme Court held – as had the lower courts – that BP must stand by its word and honor its contract. People and businesses that suffered losses can now receive the recovery they are entitled to under the Settlement Agreement’s objective, transparent formula. If an individual or business suffered a loss in the wake of the oil spill, an objective formula will determine whether they are entitled to a claim and their level of compensation.
Read the Supreme Court Order.
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