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March 3, 2012

BP Settlement Reached: In principle agreement to compensate hundreds of thousands of oil spill victims

Following extensive negotiation and a week-long trial delay issued by Judge Carl Barbier in the BP multidistrict litigation (MDL), the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) for the MDL has reached a settlement in principle with BP that, if approved by the court, would compensate hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These lawsuits were consolidated in the MDL In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No. 10-md-02179 (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana).

Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice, who was one of the lead negotiators on behalf of the 19 members who comprise the PSC, stated, "I am excited about the ability to have Motley Rice clients participate in a settlement process that was designed to be victim friendly. We whole heartedly support the court-supervised claims process and think our clients will receive the full and fair compensation they deserve." Read the full statement from the PSC here.

According to the PSC, terms of the settlement in principle include:

  • Being fully funded by BP, with no cap on the amount BP will pay
  • An obligation by BP to fully satisfy all eligible claims under the terms of the Court supervised settlement, irrespective of the funds previously set aside
  • If approved, the settlement will hold BP fully accountable to victims of the oil spill

BP agreed to two separate class action settlement agreements, the first of which compensates individuals and businesses that suffered private economic loss as a result of the spill, including lost profits and property damage. The second compensates people having medical claims in connection to the spill and also provides them with 21 years of regular medical consultation. Eligible claimants can participate in one or both settlement programs under the settlement in principle.

Judge Barbier said the settlement may result in a realignment of the parties in this litigation and require substantial changes to the current trial plan. His order did not address the status of BP's talks with the federal government or other parties.

The April 2010 explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, killing 11 employees and spilling more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of three months. The incident resulted in extensive environmental damage and billions of dollars lost in revenue.

Read more about the settlement in principle in articles featured by The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, BBC and The Independent.

Read more about the BP oil spill settlements and how Motley Rice lawyers are fighting on behalf of individuals and businesses suffering as a result of the spill damage.