Thursday, October 03, 2013

BP is pretty much done paying for anything

As you pass the popcorn and watch the second phase of the BP trial play out, keep in mind that they've already settled down into fighting-every-single-judgement-forever mode.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived BP’s claims that a judge’s interpretation of a settlement over its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could force the company to pay billions of dollars for bogus or inflated claims by businesses.

A ruling by a divided three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s rulings on the dispute between BP and attorneys who brokered the multibillion-dollar settlement in 2012. The panel sent the case back to Barbier with an order that he craft a “narrowly-tailored injunction that allows the time necessary for deliberate reconsideration of these significant issues.”

Which means, among other things, that whatever sum we think Louisiana has been awarded, we will watch slowly diminish over a period of years, decades, however long it takes. Kind of like the Louisiana coast.  For a while, there were some guys who had a Plan B in the works.  But the Governor ran them off.  Oh well.

Update: Interesting analysis here.
Here’s how this interim win could blow up on BP: The Fifth Circuit’s second-guessing, done at BP’s behest, constitutes a public embarrassment for Barbier. Yet he has pending before him far more than the contested business claims. Barbier is also presiding over a complicated trial in which the federal government is seeking $17 billion or more in Clean Water Act penalties from BP. In other words, Barbier is just about the last judge on earth that BP should want to anger at this juncture.

Yeah.. maybe. But it doesn't really matter because, they'll just keep fighting whatever happens. 

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