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BP to Pay $138 Million in Attorney Fees
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Attorney fees in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster case have reached $138 million.

Summary: Attorney fees in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster case have reached $138 million.

According to Bloomberg, BP’s settlement with the United States government, as well as five Gulf states, has crept up to $20.8 billion over damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

  
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In addition to the $20.8 billion, BP must also pay an incredible $138 million in attorney fees. This amount represents the fees for actions brought under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, and is separate from attorney fees related to the civil suits brought by businesses and individuals for the spill.

Five states will receive a portion of the fees. Florida will receive $52 million, Louisiana $20 million, Alabama $10 million, Mississippi $5 million, and Texas $1 million.

The states will use the funds to boost legal budgets that have been cut. For example, Alabama will use the money “to fill a hole in our current budget created by a funding shortfall from the Alabama legislature,” Luther Strange, the state attorney general, stated.

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Strange

Strange

Three BP employees are facing federal indictment charges.



Several regional law firms are also receiving a chunk of the fees. The remaining amount, around $40 million, will go to “Co-Liaison Counsel, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, and all other attorneys who performed legal services for the common and collective benefit,” the court documents read.

The Deepwater Horizon settlement is the largest in the history of the Department of Justice. It finalizes the government’s civil claims under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, and also settles economic damage claims from regional authorities.

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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters that the settlement was crafted to compensate for the damages, “provide for a way forward for the health and safety of the Gulf,” and “let other companies know they are going to be responsible for the harm that occurs should accidents like this happen in the future.”

Read more about the settlement here.

According to Nola.com, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has said, “This agreement brings renewed hope for a fully restored Gulf of Mexico to millions of Americans. . . . The trustees will continue to work with people along the coast to ensure they have every opportunity to be engaged in these meaningful recovery and restoration efforts that will generate jobs, improve water quality, support our tribal responsibilities and result in an improved wildlife habitat for migratory birds and hundreds of vulnerable species.”

The $18.7 billion settlement announced in July did not include certain interest payments, reimbursements, and committed expenditures for the restoration of natural resources.

In September, a judge ruled that BP would not be reimbursed for claims it overpaid.

BP has set aside approximately $53.7 billion for damages caused by the 2010 disaster. The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig caused the largest offshore spill in the history of the United States.

The case caption is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

You can read the Department of Justice’s press release here.

Source: Bloomberg

Photo credit: Telegraph, ABC News (Lynch), ALToday.com (Strange)



 

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