In a long-awaited decision, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier yesterday ruled that the biggest oil spill in U.S. history was the result of BP’s gross negligence and wilful misconduct. The oil giant was apportioned 67 per cent of the blame for the 2010 incident, with drilling partners Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. being apportioned 30 and 3 per cent respectively.
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Experts say this finding is the worst-case scenario for BP, as it means the company could potentially be liable for up to $18 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and the possibility of billions more in punitive damages, which could be four times the potential penalties than if Judge Barbier had only ruled BP’s actions were negligent.
Morelli Law Firm welcomed the ruling, having launched a class action complaint against BP and others in June this year on behalf of plaintiffs that have been severely impacted or outright bankrupted by the catastrophic oil spill.