BP to appeal Gulf oil spill payment ruling to U.S. Supreme Court

Wed May 21, 2014 2:31pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - BP Plc, seeking to limit costs related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether it must pay some businesses for economic damages without proof that the spill caused such losses.

The British oil company will appeal Monday's decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans not to disturb a divided three-judge panel's March ruling over the payments. It will also ask the 5th Circuit not to require that it pay businesses for economic losses during the appeal.

BP has complained that the settlement it negotiated to cover business loss claims is being interpreted incorrectly by the businesses' lawyers and claims administrator Patrick Juneau. It said making payments unrelated to the spill could push the settlement's estimated $9.2 billion cost significantly higher.

"No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement," BP said.

A spokesman for Stephen Herman and James Roy, lawyers representing the businesses, had no immediate comment.

Dissenting from the 5th Circuit's 8-5 decision to let the panel ruling stand, Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement said the holdings "funnel BP's cash into the pockets of undeserving non-victims ... Another court surely must resolve this."

The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig led to 11 deaths and the largest offshore U.S. oil spill. BP has taken $42.7 billion of pre-tax charges so far.

CLASS ACTION   Continued...

The BP brand logo is seen at a Washington DC service station October 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed