Energy & Environment

Court: BP can appeal some Gulf spill claims

A federal appeals court has ruled that oil giant BP has the right to appeal some damage claims under its settlement from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill at its well.

{mosads}The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans said Friday that in agreeing to the settlement to pay claims to people and businesses affected by the spill and its aftermath, BP did not expressly waive the right to appeal claims, Reuters reported.

The ruling could reduce BP’s liability. The company in 2012 said it expected to pay $7.8 billion to resolve claims, but that figure had increased to $10.3 billion by July 2014.

BP has thus far paid $5.13 billion to 63,597 claimants, Reuters said.

The appeals court’s ruling overturns a lower court’s finding that BP waived its rights to appeal.

“Where a settlement agreement does not resolve claims itself but instead establishes a mechanism pursuant to which the district court will resolve claims, parties must expressly waive what is otherwise a right to appeal from claim determination decisions by a district court,” the court said.

A BP spokesman told Reuters it was pleased with the circuit court’s finding.

Beyond the settlement claims, BP is still awaiting a ruling on how much it will have to pay in fines under the Clean Water Act. It could have to pay up to $13.7 billion.

Tags BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill
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