A timeline of significant events leading up to the December 21, 2013 final order approving the BP Deepwater Horizon settlement
In the midst of the BP oil spill crisis, with billions of gallons of oil and other pollution pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, BP CEO Tony Hayward told reporters: “I want my life back.” A short time later BP transferred Mr. Hayward to Russia.
People in the Gulf Coast states still want their lives back. And their jobs and businesses. But the sad truth is that many of them will never get their jobs or businesses back. That’s why a federal court in Louisiana approved the Deepwater Horizon oil spill class action settlement: to compensate businesses, nonprofits and individuals who have lost money during the period when the oil spill was hitting the Gulf states the hardest.
Following is a rundown of significant events in the BP Oil Spill Settlement:
- April 10, 2010: An explosion caused by a blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig kills 11 workers and creates a fireball that’s visible 35 miles away. The fire cannot be immediately extinguished, leaving the well gushing oil in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The rig sinks 36 hours after the explosion.
- June 16, 2010: BP agrees to put $20 billion into an escrow fund to settle economic injury claims by fishermen and other Gulf industries harmed by the spill.
- July 15, 2010: BP caps the gushing well. Over 85 days, the well dumped over 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.
- December 15, 2010: The Justice Department files suit against BP and other companies, asking that they be held liable for cleanup and damage caused by the spill.
Results of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster
- January 12, 2011: A report from the National Oil Spill Commission finds time-saving and money-saving decisions led to safety risks that triggered the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
- March 2, 2012: BP and lawyers for the plaintiffs reach a class action settlement just prior to a planned trial over the 2010 BP oil spill. Tens of thousands of people with unpaid BP claims from a fund being managed by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility can take what the settlement offers them or opt out and make a claim directly against BP. (Link to download BP Settlement Agreement). The BP Settlement appoints Cameron Azari to give the best practicable notice to members of the BP class action. Notice by first class mail was sent to approximately 500,000, even though the class included many more who lived and did business in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Florida. (Click here to download the Detailed BP Settlement Notice.)
- November 15, 2012: BP agrees to a $4.5 billion settlement with the federal government over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, pleading guilty to felony counts in the deaths of 11 workers and for lying to Congress.
- December 21, 2012: The United States District Court in New Orleans enters an Order granting Final Approval to the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement, estimated at about $8 billion, but left uncapped. The settlement included all individuals and entities in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of western Florida if they met certain financial formulas set out in the Deepwater Horizon class action settlement agreement.
- April 5, 2013: U.S. district Court Judge Carl Barbier rejects BP’s attempt to block the Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator, attorney Patrick Juneau, from awarding what the giant energy company said could be billions in payments for “fictitious” losses by businesses. Examples given by BP included a North Alabama paving contractor which had been awarded $9.7 million.
- April 22, 2013: A three-judge panel from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejects BP’s request for a stay of the April 5 order by U.S. District Judge Barbier. BP claims payments by Juneau can continue while BP appeals the matter.
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