BP has taken its last gasp of air as it seeks it's one and only option in the ongoing saga of the oil-spill settlement agreement the company hastily signed. After unsuccessful attempts with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the oil giant is now trying its hand with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Whether the Supreme Court will grant cert. remains to be seen, but in the meantime, let's take a look at the legal backdrop of the case.
The BP Settlement
After BP's massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it entered a settlement agreement in 2012, which was approved by the district court -- and that's when (more) problems began.
In interpreting the agreement, the district court ruled that the settlement agreement didn't require those claiming certain business losses to provide evidence of causation -- that is, claimants didn't have to show that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused their business losses. As a result, some business owners took advantage of the situation by filing suspicious claims.
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BP challenged the terms of the settlement agreement, and sought to have the settlement agreement tossed "if the class included claimants who were not directly affected by the accident," reports the Houston Chronicle.
Deeming some payments "illegitimate," BP argued that approximately $600 million in payments were made to claimants too far from the spill, or who were not affected by the spill. The Fifth Circuit didn't buy it, finding that was the deal BP negotiated, stating, "There is nothing fundamentally unreasonable about what BP accepted but now wishes it had not."
When BP petitioned for rehearing en banc, a divided Fifth Circuit denied the petition.
The Cert. Petition
Late Friday, BP filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports New Orleans' WWL-TV. As stated in the petition, the question presented by BP is:
whether the court of appeals erred in holding -- in conflict with the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits -- that district courts can, consistent with Rule 23 and Article III, certify classes that include numerous members who have not suffered any injury caused by the defendant.
We'll have to wait until October to find out whether cert. will be granted, according to WWL. But based on the nature of the claim, and the circuit split, BP has a good chance in having cert. granted. We'll keep you posted when the Supreme Court decides whether or not to hear this case.
- BP Wants Settlement Thrown Out Over Class Action Rules (FindLaw's U.S. Fifth Circuit Blog)
- BP Suffers Loss in Gulf Settlement Appeal: Time to Pay Up? (FindLaw's U.S. Fifth Circuit Blog)
- 5th Circuit Makes Typo in Denying BP Settlement Rehearing (FindLaw's U.S. Fifth Circuit Blog)