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Lawsuits flourish in oil-spill aftermath

A barrage of court claims pitting BP against its partners in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could lay the groundwork for billions of dollars in settlements to spread the costs of the disaster.

A barrage of court claims pitting BP against its partners in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could lay the groundwork for billions of dollars in settlements to spread the costs of the disaster, legal experts say.

BP has sued Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Co. and Cameron International Corp. in one of the biggest legal moves since last year’s blowout. It is seeking up to the full cost of the disaster — estimated at $42 billion — plus costs, interest and punitive damages from each of the companies that helped it drill the doomed well.

So far, BP has met the full cost of the cleanup effort alone and is paying compensatory damages to fishermen, shrimpers, property owners and others in the area affected by the spill.

“These suits are intended to spread liability, but they’re also part of a larger public relations effort for BP,” says David A. Logan, dean of Roger Williams University School of Law. “BP wants to remind the world they weren’t the only corporation that was a key player in this cascade of bad events that led to a remarkably bad outcome.”

 
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