US Court gives BP shareholders clearance to sue over Deepwater Horizon

BP may have breathed a sigh of relief back in July when it settled federal state and local claims relating to damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

But now the Britain-based oil company, largely held accountable for the explosion and sinking of the rig plus the 87-day unstaunched flow of oil from the well, is facing more potential legal action, this time from its own shareholders, according to Reuters.

This is because the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the company must face a class-action suit from investors who claim BP’s conduct during the unfolding disaster constituted fraud of its own shareholders.

The key point is whether or not the company deliberately played down the rate of oil flow from the well, in order to limit hits to its share price.

Two groups of shareholders are trying to bring class-actions but only one is being allowed to go ahead by the Court of Appeals.

BP’s July settlement with government bodies came to $18.7 bn. It took to $54.6bn the company’s payouts in liabilities for the Deepwater Horizon.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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