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Judge strikes down BP’s efforts to recoup money paid on oil spill claims

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A federal judge in New Orleans overseeing the BP oil spill litigation said that the company will not be permitted to take back hundreds of millions of dollars it paid out to victims harmed by the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill. BP had sought to recoup payments it considered excessive from some oil spill claimants. Those payments were calculated under the accounting methods established by the 2012 settlement agreement, before Judge Carl Barbier ordered the claims administrator’s office last year to implement new accounting procedures BP considered fairer. However, Judge Barbier found in a hearing last week that the payments ... Read More

Publix Recall on Bagels Affects Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina

Recall - Publix jalapeno bagels

Four southern states have been affected by a recent recall of a popular breakfast food sold in Publix Super Markets. Publix has announced a recall of its store-brand jalapeno bagels following a warning from their supplier that these bagels may contain pieces of glass and small stones. Publix-brand jalapeno bagels are typically sold in the store’s self-service bins and the artisan cases in the bakery department. The potentially hazardous bagels were distributed to Publix store locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, meaning that stores in Tennessee and North Carolina are not impacted by the recall. Maria Brous, media ... Read More

Halliburton agrees to $1.1-billion resolution of Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims

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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 ... Read More

Labor Day weekend: Law enforcement agencies partner to eliminate traffic fatalities

Labor Day law enfocement efforts - WSFA image

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 395 people will be killed and an additional 42,300 will be injured in car crashes during the Labor Day holiday weekend. In order to best protect the public on the roadways, the Department of Transportation’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign will help law enforcement agencies across the nation ramp up safety protocols during the Labor Day weekend. The NSC officially defines the Labor Day weekend period beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 1. Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO of NSC, says, ... Read More

“The UPS Store” in 24 states hit by a data breach

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A computer virus may have targeted 51 “The UPS Store” locations in 24 different states, resulting in the exposure of credit and debit card information of consumers all over the nation. According to UPS spokeswoman Chelsea Lee, the compromised information includes names, card numbers as well as postal and email addresses from at least 100,000 transactions taking place between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11 of this year. UPS is unaware of any fraudulent activity having occurred due to the attack, Lee said. A bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security brought the suspected malware to the attention of U.S. retailers, ... Read More

New study confirms BP oil spill is destroying deep-sea coral reefs

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BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a broader, deeper impact on life in the Gulf of Mexico than researchers previously thought, according to a new study conducted by Pennsylvania State University scientists. The researchers documented their discovery of two partially dead deep-sea coral reefs about 14 miles east of BP’s blown-out Macondo wellhead, ground zero for the largest oil spill ever recorded. Before the researchers discovered these damaged reefs, they only knew of one coral reef that had been devastated by the BP spill, but that reef was little more than 8.5 miles from the Macondo well and in ... Read More

Future looks bleak for oyster production after BP oil spill

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Louisiana oyster beds that have yielded rich harvests for generations now produce little more than dozens of “empty, lifeless oyster shells,” the Associated Press reported, underscoring the death blow dealt by BP’s 2010 oil spill to local fisherman and businesses in some parts of the Gulf Coast. Gulf Coast oyster harvests have declined dramatically in the four years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion released millions of gallons of crude oil into some of the Gulf’s most ecologically sensitive regions. According to the AP, “thousands of acres of oyster beds where oil from the well washed ashore are producing less than ... Read More

New study finds BP oil dispersant chemicals still linger in the Gulf

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Chemical oil dispersants BP used in 2010 to break up its Deepwater Horizon oil spill are still turning up in samples collected from the Gulf’s beaches and deep sea corals, a new scientific study has found. Scientists studying the presence the dispersant chemical DOSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate) in the Gulf of Mexico environment expected to see a slower degradation in the deeper, colder areas of the Gulf, but the lingering presence of the chemical along the shore came as a surprise. The study, conducted by scientists from Haverford College and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and published in the journal Environmental ... Read More

Federal court holds Chinese drywall companies in contempt for ignoring U.S. litigation

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China’s state-owned drywall manufacturers have abandoned litigation in the U.S. involving thousands of American homeowners who sued the companies over allegedly toxic and corrosive drywall they claim has damaged their homes and their health. In addition to not responding to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other gypsum manufacturers owned by the Chinese government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission ignored a $2.7 million default judgment against them in 2010. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan in civil and criminal contempt on July 17 for its refusal to appear in court to ... Read More

BP asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear its oil spill settlement case

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As if causing the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history weren’t enough of a blow to the U.S., BP appears determined to waste millions of taxpayer dollars by fighting every court decision until it gets the outcome it demands. On Friday, BP filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming the New Orleans federal court and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly approved the multi-billion dollar settlement that the oil giant itself helped draft and then approved in March 2012. BP has been trying to suspend payments on claims to businesses harmed by the 2010 Deepwater ... Read More