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BP appeals judge's interpretation of settlement terms resulting from spill

British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] filed an appeal Wednesday contesting the March 5 order of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] which approved the methods being used to calculate losses by the administrator of the $8.5 billion settlement fund which was created following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder]. BP is claiming [Bloomberg report] that the administrator of the fund, Patrick Juneau, has wrongly awarded settlements to entities with only "absurd" and "imaginary" losses, referring to businesses which may have lost revenue as result of the spill but weren't directly impacted by the spill itself. The appeal follows just days after BP filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Juneau for the administrator's awarding of settlement funds.

The BP appeal comes as the court prepares to resume the non-jury trial to determine liability [JURIST report] for the April 20, 2010, rupture of the Macondo well and explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. In January a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana accepted a plea agreement [JURIST report] between BP and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] for the company's criminal liability in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Earlier in January, Transocean Ltd. [corporate website] pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to "negligently discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico," in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) [EPA summary] and will pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties for its role in the Deepwater Horizon spill. In December a federal judge approved [JURIST report] a final class settlement between BP and those who experienced economic and property loss stemming from the spill. In November BP executives pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to criminal charges stemming from the oil spill. Earlier that month BP agreed to pay [JURIST report] $4.5 billion in penalties for felony misconduct for its role in the spill. A federal judge ordered [JURIST report] BP to share partial liability with Transocean in oil spill claims in January 2012.

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