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Federal judge approves final class settlement order in BP oil spill case

A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] on Friday gave final approval [order, PDF] to a settlement between British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] and those who experienced economic and property loss stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The $7.8 billion settlement marks the final point in settling monetary remuneration between BP and those who suffered economic and property damages from the oil spill, but the settlement does not resolve claims by those who allege the oil spill has caused them illness. Judge Carl Barbier's ruling suggests that his ruling is both "favorable to claimants" while still putting an reasonable cap on the amount for which BP will be liable. The widely anticipated ruling was welcomed by lawyers on both sides of the claims. BP welcomed the news [press release] calling it an "important step forward for BP in meeting its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf."

Friday's ruling has been another development in a long series of legal battles that have arisen from the Deepwater Horizon Crisis. Last month BP executives pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to criminal charges levied against them for their role in the spill. That same day the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] announced that BP would be indefinitely suspended [press release] from bidding on government contracts, saying the company's "lack of business integrity" has disqualified them from consideration. Also in November US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that BP had agreed to pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties and to plead guilty [JURIST report] to felony misconduct for its role in the devastation caused by the oil spill. It has been argued that this settlement was a step in the right direction [JURIST op-ed] for compensating those affected by the oil spill.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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