Landowners, Oyster Fisheries Opt Out Of $7.8 Billion BP Settlement, File Suits

by Tara Arick on November 6, 2012 · 0 comments

in Environmental

- From LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Daily Legal News.

A group of landowners along the Gulf Coast and three oyster fisheries in Louisiana on Nov. 1 officially opted out of BP PLC’s proposed $ 7.8 billion settlement for economic loss and medical claims arising from the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and filed lawsuits in Louisiana federal court seeking damages from the company (Wolf Bay, LLC, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-02663, Pearl River Fisheries of Louisiana LLC, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-02665, E.D. La.).

The group of landowners led by Wolf Bay LLC, and Pearl River Fisheries of Louisiana LLC, Bayou Carlin Fisheries Inc. and Bayou Caddy Fisheries Inc. filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, claiming that BP Exploration & Production Inc. is liable for economic losses they suffered as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In February, BP announced that it would resolve all economic loss and medical claims arising from the spill for $ 7.8 billion. The terms of the settlement were preliminarily approved by U.S. Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana in May. A fairness hearing on the settlement is scheduled for Nov. 9.

Oil Damage

Wolf Bay and its co-plaintiffs seek to certify a class for landowners in Alabama, Florida Mississippi and Texas whose property was damaged as a result of the spill and who claim that they would not be fairly compensated under the proposed settlement agreement. The plaintiffs complain that during the spill, oil, tar balls and chemical dispersants leeched onto their properties.

Similarly, the oyster fisheries assert that oil from the spill contaminated oyster crops and permanently impaired their ability to cultivate oysters in the future. The fisheries complain that although BP was aware of the risks associated with deepwater drilling, it failed to properly train its workers.

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