Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

BP lawyers misled the court, Deepwater Horizon claimants say

Guy Freeman via flickr

Lawyers representing claimants in the Deepwater Horizon trial have accused their counterparts defending the oil giant BP of omitting material.

They argue that BP’s legal team has made unreliable claims and “material omissions [that were] designed to mislead the court with absurd statements”, in relation to the injunction recently obtained.

The accusation follows a move by the court that stopped compensation claims, after BP complained that many businesses were asking for refunds despite not being affected by the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The injunction was granted by the Fifth Circuit appeals court in New Orleans, which said that those who had not yet received compensation would have to be kept on hold until the case had been “fully heard and decided”.

Now the claimants’ lawyers have presented a document that allegedly shows BP omitted information over those cases that the company believed not to be eligible for compensation.

In one case described by the Financial Times, BP pointed out that the drop in revenues of a local dentist was linked to the departure of a member of the team. However, according to the plaintiff’s lawyers, the firm omitted the fact that the employee left in 2009, therefore the fact was not relevant to the difference of revenue before and after the spill.

The “unfair” compensation scheme for the businesses and citizens affected by the 5m oil barrel spill in the Gulf was criticised by the company and it was even thought that BP could eventually run out of money, as claims were being submitted at a pace of 10,000 per month.

Further reading:

US court grants suspension to BP’s Deepwater Horizon payouts

Judge criticises BP’s attempts to block compensation payouts

BP Gulf compensation fraud hotline hijacked to accuse oil giant of misbehaviour

BP wins appeal over Deepwater Horizon compensation payouts

Former Deepwater Horizon manager pleads guilty to destroying evidence

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