BP: $256b Lawsuit Should Stay Dead

BP: $256b Lawsuit Should Stay Dead
BP: $256b Lawsuit Should Stay Dead

BP says a recently unearthed government report has no bearing on a judge’s decision to toss a $256 billion lawsuit over safety compliance issues at one of its deep-water production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, Fuel Fix reported.

The three-year-old report, recently released by the Interior Departments’s Office of Inspector General, is central to efforts by a former contractor and an environmental group to convince a Texas federal judge to open the case back up. It outlines dissension among investigators who were examining whether a previous probe into BP’s regulatory compliance at its Atlantis platform was flawed. It also notes some of the investigators concluded that BP did not have a complete set of engineering documents for the facility.

But BP says the report “does not change the court’s determination that ‘these plaintiffs knew nothing, discovered nothing, and distorted what the government already knew,’” the London oil company told the judge in legal filings this week. The report, BP said, also shows the investigators had “resolved the various views and conclusions.”

“At no time does the OIG report side with particular investigators or engineers, or offer any conclusions or recommendations as to the substantive disagreements raised,” the company said in a motion to quash the plaintiffs’ request for reconsidering a ruling that tossed the suit. “The OIG report states in no uncertain terms that the OIG ‘did not substantiate the allegation that the investigation was flawed.’”

Two months ago, US District Judge Lynn Hughes in Houston dismissed a suit from former BP contractor Kenneth Abbott and environmental group Food & Water Watch. He said the plaintiffs were relying on “unfounded suspicions” about the legality of engineering designs of BP’s Atlantis platform in the Gulf.

Abbott, who worked for one of BP’s suppliers until he had been laid off in 2009, alleged in a lawsuit that year that BP lied to regulators about complying with safety rules so that it could obtain offshore leases for its Gulf operations. But Hughes ruled BP never misrepresented or distorted its actions, saying the purported whistleblowers “have blown their own horn.”

Armed with the uncovered report, Abbott and other plaintiffs last month asked the judge to revisit the suit.