Federal Judge Okays Settlement In BP Class Action Lawsuit

A US federal judge gave his final approval for BP’s settlement with individuals and businesses who either lost money and/or property during the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill in 2010.

The order, which was approved on Friday, only addresses the economic and property damage claims. A separate medical benefits settlement for cleanup workers and others who allege that the oil spill made them sick is still ongoing.

The Chicago Tribune reports that BP estimates it will pay around $7.8 billion to settle over 100,000 claims in the class action lawsuit.

While US District Judge Carl Barbier approved the deal in may, he held a “fairness hearing” in November, which weighed objections from 13,000 claimants who challenged the settlement.

The hearing served to resolve some of the oil company’s liability for the Macondo well blowout, which is considered the worst offshore oil spill in the history of the US.

The blown out Macondo well gushed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days, until it was permanently sealed.

Al Jazeera notes that BP pleaded guilty in November to criminal charges in relation to the oil spill. Along with the tens of billions of dollars the British-based oil company is already paying out, they agreed to pay an extra $4.5 billion to cover the criminal charges.

BP has sold more than $35 billion in non-core assets in the past two years to help fund the massive compensation costs related to the oil spill. Along with killing 11 workers in the initial explosion, the oil spill took out several sensitive estuaries, killing wildlife and stopping fishing down in large areas of the Gulf.