Monday, September 8, 2014

Halliburton Settles With Plaintiff Claims

Halliburton has agreed to “settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims” from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill for $1.1 billion. The settlement is still “subject to court approval.” The settlement pertains to claims Halliburton was assigned as a result of BP’s 2012 settlement.
        The Washington Post  notes that the settlement covers “two classes of plaintiffs, including new punitive damages for those who suffered property damage or were in the commercial fishing business” as well as “BP claims against Halliburton that were assigned to the plaintiffs as part of BP’s earlier settlement.” Judge Barbier must still approve the settlement.
        The New York Times reports that in a Tuesday statement Halliburton said that it “denies all allegations of any wrongdoing, fault, noncompliance, liability; denies that it acted improperly in any way; and denies that it caused any damage or loss arising out of, due to, resulting from, or relating in any way to, directly or indirectly, the Deepwater Horizon incident.”
        Bloomberg News  reports that Halliburton’s settlement “refocuses attention” on the ongoing BP trial, as spill victims asserted Halliburton’s work on BP’s Macondo well “was defective.” A BP spokesman on Tuesday said Halliburton’s settlement emphasizes “that the fire and explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon was an accident resulting from multiple causes, involving multiple parties” and marks “the very first time” that Halliburton has said “that it played a role in the accident.”
        The Hill  reports that “in its own statement,” the company “did not take any responsibility” for the Deepwater Horizon accident. However, plaintiffs attorney Joe Rice called the agreement “a reasonable compromise of a highly contested issue – the level of responsibility of Halliburton and the degree of the alleged failures of Halliburton’s conduct.”
        The Wall Street Journal notes that the $1.1 billion settlement is slightly less than the $1.3 billion that Halliburton put aside for costs related to the spill. Transocean, BP, and Halliburton are still awaiting a verdict from US District Judge Carl Barbier on the degree of negligence for each party. Tuesday’s settlement allows Halliburton to avoid risking a higher damages ruling if Judge Barbier finds it was grossly negligent.
        TIME (9/2, Kedmey, 24.1M) notes that the $1.1 billion settlement will be placed “into a trust in three installment.” That trust will be used to award “damage claims from property holders and commercial fisheries” affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill.
        BBC News (9/2, 1.17M) notes that Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean previously entered a $1.4 billion settlement in the case, and thus far BP has paid an estimated $28 billion.

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