Gulf Spill Trial Given Start Date In Late February

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August 15, 2011

A civil trial to determine liability in last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been given a preliminary start date of Feb. 27, 2012, with the expected lengthy proceedings to be broken into three phases, Courthouse News reported Monday.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans said at a monthly status conference Friday that the trial schedule would likely follow one proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC). As of now, more than 100,000 plaintiffs are involved in the litigation.

The initial phase of the trial will deal with the conduct of parties involved in the doomed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. (RIG), and the April 20, 2010, explosion and sinking of the platform, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers.

The second phase will address source control and quantification of discharge, with the third phase to deal with remaining matters such as containment, skimming, use of dispersants and boom, according to the report.

BP PLC (BP) was owner of the Macondo well and was leasing Deepwater Horizon from Transocean at the time of the explosion.

Plaintiffs in the case include fishermen, shrimpers, and restaurant and resort owners seeking compensation for losses from the spill. Among others are rig workers who were injured and the families of those killed in the blast.

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