[JURIST] BP [official website] stated [press release] Thursday that it has agreed to pay $175 million to shareholders in a securities class action suit against the company relating back to the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Shareholders claimed the company misled them on the extent of the damages arising from the spill. The statement made clear that this settlement does “not resolve other securities-related litigation in connection with” the same incident. A separate settlement between BP and the Department of Justice [JURIST report] for $20 billion was approved earlier this year, in April. That settlement represented penalties relating to the Clean Water Act and general natural resource damage.
The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has had far-reaching and catastrophic environmental and human impacts [JURIST backgrounder]. Last year the US government appealed a federal court ruling [JURIST report] that reduced the potential liability BP faces under the Clean Water Act in relation to the 2010 spill. In February of last year District Court Judge Carl Barbier of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana rejected a motion [JURIST report] by BP to reduce the civil fine payable under the Clean Water Act. BP’s appeal sought to reduce the fine per barrel from the $4,300 proposed by the US government to $3,000 per barrel. In December 2014 the US Supreme Court declined [JURIST report] to review a settlement with BP resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. In August 2014 a federal district court in Louisiana ruled [JURIST report] that BP was grossly negligent and bears a majority of the blame for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.