Mississippi files suits against BP for Deepwater Horizon

19 April 2013 19:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on Friday filed state and federal suits against UK energy giant BP, seeking damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

“I have worked very hard to get BP to discuss a reasonable settlement,” he said in a statement. “BP refused to negotiate, forcing the state to take this action. BP would not even agree to waive the statute of limitations while we negotiated, which could have prevented the state from having to file suit and saved both them and the taxpayers a lot of money paying lawyers and fighting in the courts.”

Hood said the Deepwater Horizon incident caused the state to sustain losses of tax revenue, economic loss and other damages including those to its natural resources.

The state is seeking statutory penalties, as well as punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs of litigation and declaratory and injunction relief.

“I am sure BP and the other defendants will seek to delay and deny the state our day in court by seeking to remove our state lawsuit to federal court,” Hood said. “It is my hope that the federal district court in the Southern District of Mississippi will remand the case to state court within 30 days of the defendants’ filing for removal, so that the state can proceed expeditiously in state court.”

The states of Louisiana and Alabama have already filed suits against BP, and the first phase of the federal civil trial that determines liability from the incident concluded on Wednesday.

“While claims filed by other states have languished in federal court, I do not want to see that happen to us,” Hood said. “States are separate sovereigns entitled to litigate their state law claims in state courts.”

BP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Previously, BP had agreed to a $4bn (€3bn) criminal settlement, as well as a $525m civil settlement for claims made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Separately, BP reached an economic- and property-damage settlement with several people and businesses who sued the company following the spill. Claim payouts have totalled over $8.7bn.

In addition, three of BP’s managers and a former engineer also face criminal charges.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Tracy Dang
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