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Russia court orders new hearing in case against BP

The Federal Arbitration Court in Tyumen on Monday ordered a new hearing in a lower court in a lawsuit against British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website]. The suit was brought by minority shareholders in BP's Russian venture, TNK-BP, alleging that the venture suffered financial losses because of its exclusion in the deal between BP and Rosneft [corporate websites] last year. The shareholders are seeking damages of USD $13 billion. Although the original suit was rejected by the court, Monday's order effectively gives the plaintiffs the opportunity to present their case. BP's lawyer criticized this development stating that Russia currently does not provide any predictable and effective legal system on which parties and their lawyers could successfully rely. The date for the new hearing has not yet been set.

BP has faced numerous lawsuits and is still involved in litigation, especially in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the Gulf of Mexico. In May, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] signed [JURIST report] a case management order for the upcoming trial between BP and the victims in 2013. In April, the judge accepted the terms of a settlement reached in March [JURIST reports] between BP and the plaintiffs in which BP is required to pay around $7.8 billion in two separate agreements, one to resolve economic loss claims and another to resolve medical claims.

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