The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards once said that a political opponent took so long to make a decision that it “takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.”  I was reminded of that quote after watching 60 Minutes‘ recent profile of the BP settlement and, more particularly, the resulting “coverage of the coverage” like this column from the L.A. Times.

It seems that this particular “60 Minutes” is lasting a bit longer than normal.

As an attorney, I have represented businesses impacted by the BP oil spill since oil was literally washing ashore in Louisiana and Florida.  I know firsthand the wide ranging economic calamity that BP’s oil spill has caused the gulf region because I have sat in board rooms and at kitchen tables — and discussed with my clients the impact the spill has had on their businesses.  And I have represented clients under the protocols of the GCCF, as well as the DHECC.  As an attorney who has been involved in the process for so long, it was apparent to me that the biggest issue that 60 Minutes missed was the “why” — Why did BP enter into a class-action settlement in the first place?

A local journalist, David Hammer of WWLTV, at least looked into and answered that question.  And the answer — not surprisingly — is that it made economic sense for BP to enter into an overly inclusive class action settlement — rather than to continue to slug it out in court.  In other words, BP thought it would make money when it agreed to the class action settlement and the various formulas included in the settlement to determine if a business’ loss was “caused” by BP’s oil spill.

I know.  That sounds just like what you would expect me to say.  But check out Hammer’s WWL’s piece, and Loyola Law School Professor Blaine LeCesne’s statement:

“They [BP] got to placate their shareholders, who were nervous about how much this was going to cost them through the years going through litigation; they got to settle their criminal and environmental fines on very favorable terms with the federal government; they got to get 100,000 residents along the gulf coast to join the settlement and forever give up their right to sue BP in court.  Each of those items is worth billions to BP.”

And then check out what BP’s own lawyers (plural) said about the formulas and causation.  And then, as the expression goes, “you be the judge.”


  1. Gravatar for Al Ghindal

    All that sounds good, we are long past hearing about how BP agreed to this and that etc. Policy 495 has now been implemented, changing the entire settlement altogether. Why is the PSC silent on this? Why is the 5th taking so for en banc request?

Comments are closed.

Of Interest