Back in August, US District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued a ruling allowing for claimants in the B1 Bundle to sue British Petroleum for punitive damages, a ruling BP appealed.
“I have given this a lot of thought,” Barbier said about BP’s appeal at the end of last week…
The B1 bundle includes all claims for private or “nongovernmental economic loss and property damages…” meaning claims for economic damages filed by fishermen, seafood processors and distributors, recreational and commercial businesses, plant and dock workers and those who worked for BP’s Vessels of Opportunity program.
British Petroleum attorney Andrew Lanagan seemed to suggest that by kicking these claims out of the litigation, Barbier would only be doing these claimants a favor, “We still have the GCCF [Gulf Coast Claims Facility] in place. If these claims are all eliminated from litigation, litigants will have no option but to go through the GCCF.”
Yes, through the GCCF, where claimants can’t receive compensation for punitive damages, where they are getting shafted by low compensation offers, where they’re claims are often dismissed outright by Ken Feinberg’s process.
You know, that place where British Petroleum can exact a certain amount of control, unlike Barbier’s Courtroom.
In defending the plaintiff’s right to not have their cases dismissed on appeal before they even had a chance to be heard, Elizabeth Cabraser, the plaintiff’s attorney, argued, “The law, like time, does not flow backwards.”
And this must have come as news to British Petroleum, who in the past week has not only announced what CEO Bob Dudley called a “turning point” in its profits for the third quarter, but they have also received permission to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico from the Interior Department.
Yes, if it weren’t for Barbier’s ruling, it might seem like March of 2010, all over again…
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Have a nice day.