BP, the multibillion dollar corporation responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, has had its plea to the Supreme Court denied. The company was appealing the settlement process that the company agreed to in 2012 and trying to get out of paying claims for which it was otherwise responsible. Commentators feared that the Supreme Court would side with BP as two of the Justices, Scalia and Alito have family ties to the law firm representing BP. The Court’s decision helps to restore hope for those people injured.
As we have previously reported, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito both have sons that work for the law firm Gibson Dunn that represents BP in the Deepwater Horizon case. It’s unknown whether their sons, Eugene Scalia and Philip Alito, have played a role in the BP litigation. The connection, though, was too close for comfort.
“BP has been trying to back out of the agreement it made with the people injured by the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” commented Brian Barr, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of environmental litigation and is currently handling cases related to the BP litigation. “The Supreme Court has hopefully put an end to BP’s attempts to deny these people the compensation they deserve.”
Now that the Supreme Court has denied certiorari to BP, the company is out of excuses and will have to start paying the people and businesses it harmed by recklessly blanketing the Gulf Coast with toxic crude oil.
In 2012, BP signed the settlement agreement that it authored. It subsequently fought the very same agreement in court, claiming that the agreement has been interpreted incorrectly and that the company is having to pay claims that shouldn’t be eligible.
To date, BP has reportedly paid approximately $4.25 billion for claims. The company currently estimates that it is likely to pay nearly $10 billion.
It seems like merely a case of buyer’s remorse for BP, as even the lower court pointed out.
Circuit Judge Leslie Southwick wrote in March that “there is nothing fundamentally unreasonable about what BP accepted but now wishes it had not.”
|Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.|