Beasley Allen lawyers and other members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) leading the BP oil spill litigation announced they have reached a $1.1-billion settlement with Halliburton Energy Services over its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The settlement, subject to approval by a New Orleans federal court, is to be paid into a trust in three installments over the next two years until all appeals have been resolved.
Halliburton, an oil-field services provider that cemented the doomed well a mile beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig, agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge last year for destroying evidence connected to the disaster, which killed 11 workers and created the worst oil spill ever in the U.S.
According to Halliburton, the agreement covers:
* Thousands of claims against Halliburton filed by individuals and businesses stemming from BP’s class-action settlement in 2012;
* Punitive damages claims against Halliburton by plaintiffs who allege damages to property caused by the oil spill as well as the commercial fishing industry;
* Affirmation that Halliburton has no liability for compensatory damages to the members of the settlement class in the BP April 2012 settlement.
The agreement, which was higher than expected, removes Halliburton from future liability for any claims filed by businesses, fishermen, and individuals who claim the oil disaster ruined their lives and occupations.
“Halliburton wanted out,” Loyola University Law School professor Blaine LeCesne told USA Today. “Since their failed cement mixture is at the epicenter of culpability in this incident, they didn’t want to take any further chances.”
Still, the agreement was praised by members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, who said that Halliburton had “stepped up to the plate” to provide “a fair measure of compensation” to those harmed by the massive oil spill, whose effects are still being seen and felt today.
BP remains on the hook for thousands of claims payments and federal fines resulting from the oil spill. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will preside over the third and final phase of the BP oil spill litigation. That part of the trial will seek to determine the level that each company involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster is liable for the spill and subsequent violations of the Clean Water Act. Total fines for those violations could amount to as much as $40 billion.