The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied [order, PDF] certiorari in an appeal by Mexican states attempting to sue BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The court let stand a lower court ruling in Veracruz, Mexico, et al. v. BP, P.L.C., et al. [opinion], finding that the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas and Quintana Roo cannot bring a lawsuit against BP because Mexico’s federal government owns the affected property. The lawsuit sought damages for the cost of responding to the spill, contamination of the water and shoreline and lost tourism. The Mexican federal government filed [AP report] a similar lawsuit in 2013, which is currently in the court system.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder] had far-reaching and catastrophic environmental effects [JURIST backgrounder]. According to a 2013 study [text, PDF] published by the National Academy of Sciences, it is difficult to know the full extent of environmental damage caused by the spill because of the movement of ocean currents and the difficulties of monitoring the great variety of natural resources found in the Gulf of Mexico. In December the US Supreme Court declined to review the settlement reached in the oil spill case following an order of adherence [JURIST reports] to the terms of the settlement issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in March 2014. BP claims that under the terms of the settlement they are forced to pay businesses and individuals who could not prove that their injuries were caused by the oil spill. However, lower courts have taken a stand in deciding the fallout of Deepwater Horizon and have determined that BP bears the majority of the responsibility [JURIST report] for the spill.