A federal judge in New Orleans ruled that BP's gross negligence and willful misconduct caused the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The judge also found that because the company behaved so recklessly, it could be subject to fines as large as $4,300 per barrel spilled under the Clean Water Act. This ruling means that the company could face fines of up to $17 billion. It has only set aside $3.5 billion for potential fines. BP issued a statement saying that it strongly disagrees with the decision.
The judge also found that the owner and operator of the drilling rig, Transocean, and oil company Halliburton were also negligent. Their negligence led to the explosion onboard Transocean's rig that killed 11 workers and caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The judge found that BP was 67 percent at fault, Transocean was 30 percent at fault, and Halliburton was three percent at fault.
The next part of the case will determine the size of the spill, and the final part will determine the amount of fines under the Clean Water Act. So far, BP has spent about $27 billion to clean up the oil spill and to compensate people and businesses who were harmed by the oil spill. There is also an ongoing court case with private plaintiffs who are seeking monetary damages as a result of the spill. However, the company has also increased its drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP's negligence in causing the massive oil spill harmed many individuals and businesses along the Gulf, from families renting out summer vacation homes to huge fishing businesses. BP has a responsibility to compensate those who are harmed for their damages.
Kennedy Hodges is a Houston personal injury law firm that helps those who have been harmed by another party's negligence recover compensation for damages. Call us to learn more about our services at 888-894-0119, or visit us on Facebook.