BP PLC and plaintiffs in the largest lawsuit filed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have agreed on the terms of a proposed class settlement, according to an order signed late Friday by the judge handling the case.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed in the order by Judge Carl J. Barbier, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Because of Barbier's order, the trial that was slated to begin Monday has been postponed for the second time in two weeks.
The Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana on April 20, 2010, while drilling a well in the Macondo Prospect. Eleven workers were killed in the accident, which caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The rig was owned by Tranocean Ltd., based in Switzerland, and the well was majority owned by BP, headquartered in the United Kingdom.
Below is the full text of Barbier's order:
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANAIn re: Oil Spill by the Oil RigDeepwater Horizon in the Gulfof Mexico, on April 20, 2010****MDL No. 2179SECTION JApplies to:All cases***JUDGE BARBIER
At the Court's request, the parties have been meeting with Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan in an attempt to mediate various claims. Judge Shushan has now advised the Court that Plaintiffs' counsel and counsel for BP have reached an agreement on the terms of a proposed class settlement which will be submitted to the Court for approval pursuant to F.R.Civ.P., Rule 23.
Because 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, the Court, on its own motion, issues the following Order:
IT IS ORDERED that Phase I of the trial scheduled to commence on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. is ADJOURNED. The Court will schedule a status conference with liaison counsel to discuss issues raised by the settlement and to set a new trial date. New Orleans, Louisiana, this 2nd day of March, 2012.
Carl J. Barbier
United States District Judge