It seems that one of the effects of the BP oil spill is the inability of the judicial system to decide whether the terms of the Economic and Property Damage Class Action Settlement Agreement should be reviewed of not. BP is the principal operator of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which exploded in April 2010, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It has been described as the worst environmental disaster in the history of the petroleum industry.
After a panel of judges of the 5th Circuit of the Court of Appeals decided to uphold the December 2012 ruling of Judge Carl Barbier that qualifications for businesses making an oil spill economic loss claim against the settlement did not have to show causation, a different set of judges decided the opposite. Arguments and motions from the lawyers of both BP and the plaintiffs have since been filed, leaving claimants wondering just what side will prevail in the matter. Only time will tell.
A new development on the criminal side of the whole sorry mess is the upcoming trial of former BP engineer Kurt Mix. Mix was first arrested for criminal charges in April 2012, two years after the oil spill. He stands accused of two counts of obstruction of justice by intentionally deleting text and voice mail messages pertaining to estimates of the amount of oil that was at that time still spilling from the oil rig. More former BP employees are scheduled for criminal prosecution. Concealing or interfering with any sort of evidence is a crime. Depending on the severity of the obstruction, individuals may end up serving up to five years in prison for tampering or hiding evidence. Other crimes dealing with drugs may send a person to jail for 40 years if evidence has been tampered or hidden.
Despite these developments on the legal and criminal front, the adverse environmental and health effects of the BP oil spill continue to linger in the affected areas on the Gulf of Mexico for which there is no quick solution or clever argument. The best that the victims can do is to hope to get some compensation to help them get back on their feet. Legitimate claimants may get some relief by filing a claim outside the Settlement. Consult with an experienced BP oil spill attorney to more fully explore your options.