DOJ plays hardball with BP over Gulf oil spill

Damages could quadruple to $21 billion

"Gross negligence and willful misconduct."

The U.S. Justice Department is taking a firmer position against BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, providing examples of “gross negligence and willful misconduct” in recent court documents. If BP is found to be grossly negligent in the spill, damages owed could quadruple to $21 billion.

The filing read, “The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall.”

The Justice Department points to errors made by BP and Transocean (RIG), owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform where the initial explosion took place, as clear indicators of gross negligence. The filing went on to read, “That such a simple, yet fundamental and safety-critical test could have been so stunningly, blindingly botched in so many ways, by so many people, demonstrates gross negligence.” BP has proposed a $7.8 billion settlement with 125,000 individuals and business, asserting its actions “did not constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct.”

BP (BP : NYSE : US$40.41), Net Change: -1.22, % Change: -2.93%, Volume: 7,703,629

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