BP argues maritime, economic loss claims should be dismissed in oil spill MDL

Alejandro De Los Rios May 31, 2011, 5:13am


U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier heard oral arguments for and against a motion by BP to dismiss most, if not all of the economic loss and maritime claims over last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP attorney Andrew Langan argued that the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) bar economic loss and maritime claims that don't involve physical injury.

Langan also argued that, even if Barbier ruled that OPA and OSCLA don't displace the claims in question, they're also barred under Robin's Dry Dock.

Barbier did not immediately render a decision on the motion.

Langan pointed to several past cases where OPA, OCSLA and Robin's displaced or barred maritime and economic loss claims. He said Barbier would have to "ignore every decision made in the courts on this issue" to not grant BP's motion.

Langan said that all the general maritime and economic claims should be deferred to the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) put in charge of distributing claims to people and businesses affected by the oil spill.

"BP accepted responsibility under OPA and has paid out $4 billion through the GCCF," he said.

Barbier heard arguments on the motion after completing this month's regularly scheduled status conference in the multidistrict litigation surrounding the BP oil spill.

The hearing was held in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans on May 26.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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