In April 2010, a massive BP oil spill began after an explosion and fire sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana. This affected the livelihood of millions of people who live and work on the gulf coast in several states, causing severe economic damage, potential personal injuries and an environmental catastrophe.
BP OIL SPILL LAWSUIT STATUS: Class action suits and individual lawsuits have been filed against British Petroleum (BP) and Transocean Ltd., which constructed and operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The BP Gulf oil spill litigation has been consolidated in federal court as part of an MDL for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Gulf coast oil spill lawyers are investigating claims for a wide variety of individuals whose livelihood and quality of life have been affected by this disaster, including, but not limited to:
- Oyster farmers
- Coastal property owners
- Charter boat operators
- Coastal tourism business owners
- Deepwater Horizon workers or family members of workers injured or killed.
OVERVIEW: An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform on April 20 caused the rig to catch fire and sink into the mile-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The oil rig accident ruptured the wellhead and caused a massive oil spill in the environmentally fragile gulf. The ruptured wellhead released thousands of barrels of oil per day, causing a huge oil slick which the gulf winds have blown toward the Gulf States, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
The Gulf oil spill is threatening to destroy the harvests of oyster farmers, shrimpers, and fishermen, is likely to severely damage the white “sugar sand” beaches popular with millions of tourists, and send property values spiraling downward if it reaches shore. In addition, the Gulf is the gateway to a number of environmentally fragile wetlands and estuaries, such as the Louisiana bayou and Florida everglades, which house dozens of endangered species that could be wiped out or damaged if the oil slicks filter into their habitats.
A number of Gulf oil spill class action lawsuits and individual lawsuits have already been filed against BP, and Transocean, as well as against Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Cameron International Corp., both of whom were also involved in the construction of the failed wellhead.
U.S. OIL POLLUTION ACT: According to U.S. law, BP and Transocean will likely carry the brunt of the liability and the cost of cleanup. Some experts predict that the cleanup alone will cost BP $8 billion. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 dictates that oil companies must have a plan to prevent spills that could occur on their rigs and ships, and should have a detailed containment and cleanup plan for possible oil spills.
The law dictates that “each responsible party” for a vessel or facility that is the source of an oil spill is liable for removal costs and damages. Deepwater Horizon was built by Transocean, and leased for drilling by BP.