Post-trial arguments due 20 Dec in BP's Deepwater Horizon trial

23 October 2013 16:24  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A judge has set a 20 December deadline for attorneys to file post-trial briefs in a federal civil trial that determines BP’s liability and subsequent penalties in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

Responses must be filed by 24 January before US District Court Judge Carl Barbier rules on the case.

Barbier has not handed down a decision from the first phase, which would determine whether the UK energy giant was “grossly negligent” in the events leading up to the incident. The second phase, which concluded on Friday, would determine the oil spill amount use to access fines the company faces under the US Clean Water Act.

The US government claims 4.2m bbl of oil were discharged into the water, while BP argues that amount is closer to 2.45m bbl. Penalties could amount to $1,100/bbl (€803/bbl) if BP is found negligent or $4,300/bbl if it is found grossly negligent.

Also on Friday, Barbier suspended the issuance of final determination notices and payments on certain business economic loss claims until the two parties can agree on a “narrowly tailored” preliminary injunction order, as instructed by the appeals court on 3 October.

After giving the parties a 15 October deadline to submit draft orders, Barbier had determined that both proposals continued to have the same deficiencies.

Class counsel’s proposal was “under-inclusive” in limiting the injunction to claims based on cash accounting and only for certain industries, while BP’s proposal was “over-inclusive” in suggesting that new or additional criteria be added to the causation requirements.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Tracy Dang
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