Justice Dept. Files Gulf Coast Oil Spill Lawsuit

BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, is just one of nine companies named in a civil lawsuit filed by the federal government as a result of this year’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed the details of the Gulf Coast oil spill lawsuit in a press release issued after the complaint was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of violating federal safety and operational regulations by failing to take a number of steps to prevent the blowout of the Macondo Well, a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and the subsequent oil spill.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Defendants named in the complaint allegedly violated the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act. If found guilty of violating the Oil Pollution Act, the companies involved would be responsible for government clean up costs, economic losses and environmental damages.

The Gulf Coast oil spill started shortly after the April 20 explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform that killed 11 workers. The damage sent the oil drilling rig to the bottom of the Gulf and unleashed an oil spill in the Gulf that many now consider the worst environmental disaster in history. The massive oil spill released nearly five million barrels of toxic oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, impacting several states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

Attorney General Eric Holder said that the lawsuit was just one step in an ongoing civil and criminal investigation, and more charges could be coming. The investigation is being conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

“Over the past year, I have visited the gulf region multiple times,” Holder said in the press release. “I have seen the devastation that this oil spill cause throughout the region – to individuals and families; to communities and businesses; to coastlines, wetlands, and wildlife.”

The companies named in the lawsuit include:

  • BP Exploration and Production Inc.
  • Anadarko Exploration & Production LP
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC
  • Triton Asset Leasing GMBH
  • Transocean Holdings LLC
  • Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.
  • Transocean Deepwater Inc.
  • QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd’s Syndicate 1036

Oil spill lawsuits have also been filed by shrimpers, oyster farmers, resorts and other businesses claiming that the man-made catastrophe has caused them to suffer economic loss.

There are also lawsuits filed by states and environmental groups who are suing for damages over the environmental impact, and lawsuits from property owners whose beaches became covered with tar balls and the corpses of fish and fowl dying as a result of the contamination from oil and dispersants used to break it up. In addition, there have been a number of Deepwater Horizon wrongful death lawsuits filed by family members of workers who died on the rig.

While the majority of the media attention and government focus has been on BP, most of the lawsuits also name Transocean Ltd., Cameron International Corp. and Halliburton Energy Services Inc. as defendants. In August, the federal oil spill litigation was consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) under U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier in New Orleans.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer
Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer "Representative" (Posted 3 days ago)

Bard claims two cases selected for the third and fourth bellwether trials are no longer representative of the litigation due to the plaintiffs' worsening injuries and need for additional surgeries due to their failed hernia mesh products.