On May 13th Transocean filed for protection from lawsuits by claiming Limitation of Liability under a 150-year-old maritime law. As previously stated, Transocean owns the oil drilling platform Deepwater Horizon, which was being leased by BP when it exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. A “limitations lawsuit” was filed in the Houston Federal Court. The suit was brought under a maritime law that was sponsored by Congress in 1851 to protect ship owners.
Limitation of Liability under the 1851 Act allows U.S. ship owners to limit their financial liability to the post-accident value of its vessel and cargo. Under this antiquated law, the ship owner would have to show it had no knowledge of negligence resulting in the ship’s destruction and subsequent consequences. The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig was considered a vessel under U.S. maritime law because it is capable of being navigated. According to this law, Transocean claims the value of the Deepwater Horizon wreck at just under $27 million.
It’s clear Transocean is attempting to limit its massive legal liability by filing this lawsuit. The company and others will owe tens of billions of dollars to the thousands of folks who will be badly hurt and damaged by the massive oil spill. This is a blatant attempt to limit that exposure to only $27 million. Trying to take advantage of an antiquated statute which was never intended to apply to a massive disaster of this magnitude shows how little regard the bosses at Transocean really have for the folks who have been badly hurt and damaged by their actions. In fact, what Transocean did is about as bad as anything a corporate entity with terrific legal exposure could have done in an attempt to further hurt the folks they have already badly hurt. I don’t believe any court will allow billions of dollars in damages to be limited by filing a limitations lawsuit from the 1800s such as this one. What Transocean did was shameful. Our firm will take all appropriate action on behalf of our clients and others to protect their interests and to make sure no wrongdoer gets off the hook.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.