[JURIST] British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] announced [press release] Wednesday that it will appeal a recent US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision to the US Supreme Court [official websites]. The March decision [JURIST report] by the Fifth Circuit rejected BP’s claim that payments to alleged oil spill victims claiming economic losses should be excluded because the damages were not traceable to the spill. The extensive regional economic fallout [JURIST backgrounder] along the Gulf of Mexico states has split several courts on the issue of where to draw the line in acceptable damage claims. In addition to seeking Supreme Court review, BP will ask the court of appeals to delay its decision until the appeal has concluded.
BP’s legal troubles relating to the Deepwater Horizon spill have been continuous [JURIST op-ed] and expensive, as BP has already paid billions of dollars to settle both civil and criminal claims. In January the Fifth Circuit rejected [JURIST report] a previous argument made by BP that the settlement should be invalidated because the possible inclusion of individuals not injured by BP’s conduct rendered class certification improper. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled [JURIST report] in December that proof of direct causation was not necessary for the settlement agreement and did not require its invalidation. However, the Fifth Circuit in October did reverse [JURIST report] and remand a previous district court decision that it said allowed recovery for “artificial and inflated claims.”