BP and Its Contractors Face an Array of Legal Issues

BP and its contractors are facing hundreds of lawsuits filed by Fisherman and property owners along the Gulf Coast.

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in April, has asked a judge to limit claims against it to $27 million pursuant to an 1851 law that limits liability. More than 100 claims against Transocean have been suspended until that issue is decided.

Similarly, the Oil Protection Act of 1990, passed after the Exxon Valdez spill, caps an oil company’s liability at $75 million plus the cost of cleanup. This cap is already under attack in Washington; however, Senate Republicans blocked two recent attempts to raise the cap from $75 million to $10 billion.

Because many believe that the $75 million cap will not be enough to protect those who have been damaged by the oil spill, the debate has been revived as to whether there should be caps on economic damages in lawsuits.