The explosion killed 11 workers and leaked well over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico
from the Deepwater Horizon
, located nearly fifty miles off the coast of Louisiana. It took eighty-seven days to replace the cap over the oil well, which is located over five thousand feet below water surface.
The agreement was reached on Friday in front of Judge Carl Barbier in an out-of-court conference meeting with lawyers representing both sides. The first trial for the plaintiffs was set for Monday; however Judge Barbier stated “such a settlement would likely result in a realignment of the parties in this litigation and require substantial changes to the current Phase I trial plan, and in order to allow the parties to reassess their respective positions” and postponed the trial. A new trial date will be set, proceeded by a status conference to discuss numerous issues raised by the settlement with liaison counsel.
Although BP set up a $20 billion trust for potential law suit settlements, plaintiffs will receive just $7.8 billion as suggested in 2010 by President Obama. The plaintiff side includes seafood processors, hotels and other property owners along the coast, and hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast fishermen who were affected by the oil spill.
The settlement of $7.8 billion is to cover economic loss to those with property damage as well as those who lost business and income due to water conditions. Over $12 billion remains in the trust for BP, which could all be used to settle lawsuits pertaining to deaths caused by the explosion as well as numerous lawsuits filed by the Federal government and surrounding states.