Thanksgiving day came a week early for the claimants affected by the BP oil spill in Deepwater Horizon when U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, determined that the BP Corporation was to be held accountable for the disastrous 2010 spill and it’s aftermath. According to Robert Stock, the letters coordinator at SeattleTimes.com, the oil corporation has been given a fine of $4.5 billion that will compensate the damages, deaths and economic losses incurred. The list of horrific damages ranges from 11 deaths of BP employees to thousands of fisheries who lost business.
Coincidentally, Exxon recently released a list of remaining victims who still have yet to be compensated for losses due to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Yereth Rosen of Reuters said that a list of more than 1,000 plaintiffs of the environmental lawsuit have yet to come forward to receive their compensation, because some claimants have died, cannot be reached or haven’t bothered to file the necessary paperwork.
More than 20 years later, some wonder if BP will take as long to compensate the victims and families affected by the 2010 oil spill. Here are a few other examples of environmental lawsuits that have had some success in their payouts, and others that have been dragging their feet.
After a year of unsettled allegations, a maritime lawyer finally sued Sevenson Environmental Services for providing an unsafe vessel for a tugboat captain, which resulted in the captain’s injuries in 2010. The lawsuit has yet to reach a settlement, but it has been confirmed that the remediation company was responsible for the captain’s injuries according to the Jones Act, which states that, “the employer has a non-delegable duty (meaning the employer may not delegate this responsibility to another party) to provide a vessel that is reasonably safe.”
The lawsuit was filed in December of 2011, no further resolution has been reached.
In 2009, Montana barbecue restaurant Bar 3 Bar-B-Q and Smokehouse was listed in the Dex phone book under the heading “Animal Carcass Removal” after the owner of the restaurant refused to buy an ad from a Dex salesman. Ignoring complaints from the owner, Dex reprinted the listing in their 2010 and again in the 2011 edition. In 2011, talk-show host Jay Leno broadcasted the listing as part of a joke and caused the restaurant to lose business. The case went to U.S. District court in September 2011 and the phone book company was charged with alleged negligence, defamation and slander. According to a report by the Associated Press, the case has recently been tentatively settled without a verdict from the judge between the two parties.
Corporate lawsuits are rarely finalized right away, no matter how clear the allegations and situation is. When the catastrophic oil spill in 1989 first happened in Alaska, no one would have suspected that settlement would take more than 20 years to be reached. Let’s hope that a settlement for the BP oil spill at Deepwater Horizon will be paid out to the victims who were affected sooner.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.