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Parties Ask Judge To Approve Settlement Agreement Between BP and Plaintiffs

According to an article featured in the Washington Post, on April 18, 2012, BP and plaintiffs' attorneys for more than 100,000 people and businesses affected by the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill presented a federal judge with a class-action settlement agreement. Reportedly, the agreement sets out the parameters for resolving the billions of dollars in claims resulting from the worst oil spill in American history. The article reports that both sets of lawyers are asking the federal judge to give his preliminary approval of the settlement agreement. Sources say the judge is scheduled to rule on their request on April 25, 2012.

According to the article, BP believes it will pay about $7.8 billion to resolve the claims, but the settlement is not limited to any set amount of money. Many legal sources believe it might be one of the largest class action settlements in the American courts. According to the Washington Post, the agreement acknowledges that both sides did not get everything that they want. After reviewing the settlement, interested parties have offered a mixed reaction. The Washington Post reports that many shrimpers and fisherman were disappointed with the settlement believing that their hard hit industry deserved more compensation. In fact, some individuals told the Post they might opt out of the settlement all together.

Reportedly, the agreement, which was announced March 2, does not resolve separate claims brought by the federal government and Gulf states against BP and its partners on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig over environmental damage from the nation's worst offshore oil spill. According to the Post, the settlement also does not resolve claims against Switzerland-based rig owner Transocean Ltd. and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton. Reportedly, the judge has scheduled a May 3 hearing to discuss plans for a possible trial on the other claims.

Legal sources say the federal judge is expected to have an overall fairness hearing on the settlement before he will approve anything. Reportedly, the agreement calls for paying medical claims from cleanup workers and others who say they suffered illnesses from exposure to the oil or chemicals used to disperse it. Legal sources say none of those claims were paid through a BP-created $20 billion compensation fund. Further, the Post reports that the agreement spells out several compensation levels, with cleanup workers eligible for the most: up to $60,700 plus money to cover hospital and medical bills they might have racked up.

The Amaro Law Firm is currently helping hundreds of people affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill. If you or anyone you know has experienced health issues or any other type of damage related to the BP Gulf Coast oil spill or clean-up effort, please feel free to contact one of the Amaro Law Firm's experienced attorneys at 713-864-1941 or toll free at 877-292-8797.