NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP and a team of plaintiffs’ attorneys on Wednesday presented a federal judge with the formal terms of a proposed class-action settlement designed to resolve billions of dollars in economic damage claims spawned by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The London-based oil giant and lawyers representing more than 100,000 individuals and businesses are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to give preliminary approval to the settlement agreement. The judge hasn’t indicated when he will rule.
BP PLC has estimated it will pay about $7.8 billion to resolve these private party claims, which would make it one of the largest class-action settlements ever. But the settlement doesn’t have a cap on the amount of money BP would pay.
Wednesday’s court filing says the agreement “creates a comprehensive compensation system” and is “more than fair, reasonable and adequate.”
“As in any settlement, neither side will receive everything it wants — not BP, which believes that plaintiffs’ claims are subject to considerable litigation risk, and not the (Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee), who maintain that they would one day obtain larger awards if their claims were to proceed to trial,” the filing says.
The agreement announced March 2 doesn’t resolve separate claims brought by the federal government and Gulf states against BP and its partners on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig over environmental damage from the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.
The settlement also doesn’t resolve claims against Switzerland-based rig owner Transocean Ltd. and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton. Barbier has scheduled a May 3 status conference to discuss plans for a possible trial for claims not covered by the settlement.
Barbier also is expected to hold a “fairness hearing” on the settlement before deciding whether to give final approval to it.