BP Reaches Multibillion-Dollar Oil Spill Settlement with Private Plaintiffs

British oil giant BP has reached a settlement with plaintiffs' attorneys in a massive class action lawsuit growing out of the company's disastrous deep-drilling oil platform file and blowout in 2010. USA Today had this Associated Press story on March 3 (" BP, plaintiffs reach $7.8B Gulf spill settlement"). "The settlement announced Friday would apply to tens of thousands of victims along the Gulf Coast, including fishermen who lost work and cleanup workers who got sick. It still needs approval of a federal court in New Orleans," the paper reports. "BP expects to pay the victims using the remainder of a trust fund that the company had established to pay these types of claims. The trust has $9.5 billion in assets left out of an initial $20 billion. Whatever remains would return to BP." But the deal does not cover civil claims or possible fines imposed by the Federal or State authorities because of damage to the region's natural environment, according to an AP story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (" Environmental damages remain issue after BP deal"). "While we are pleased that BP may be stepping up to address harms to individual plaintiffs, this by no means fully addresses its responsibility for the harms it has caused," the U.S. Justice Department said. The State of Alabama is also prepared to continue with legal action against BP, the Mobile Press-Register reports (" Alabama AG Luther Strange says BP settlement won't affect state's claims," by George Talbot). Said AG Strange: "We are fully prepared to try our case, and we hope that the court sets a new trial date in the near future. Alabama will continue to work closely with the United States Department of Justice and the other Gulf States to hold BP and the other defendants fully accountable for the disaster in the Gulf."