Since the completion of the Limitation Trial’s first phase in New Orleans earlier this year, new facts of corporate malfeasance continue to come to light involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Recently, we learned that Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., destroyed damaging evidence that would have been important to its culpability in the 2010 disaster.
Specifically, Halliburton deleted 3D computer simulations that may contradict the company’s assertion that its recommended 21 centralizers to BP could have, in part, prevented the disastrous outcome aboard the Deepwater Horizon. Our readers may recall that Halliburton argued at the first trial that BP’s use of only six centralizers was one of the contributing factors that caused the blowout and resulting spill. BP has argued that evidence deleted by Halliburton suggests that Halliburton’s recommended centralizer approach would not have made much difference in preventing the catastrophe.
Halliburton will expectedly plead guilty to a misdemeanor count for computer file deletion September 19th. BP now wants Judge Barbier to reopen the trial record to include Halliburton’s guilty plea and its admission that its employees deleted critical evidence. BP claims this evidence could have undermined Halliburton’s arguments in the apportionment of liability trial that recently concluded. In addition, BP believes that the destroyed evidence has affected its ability to apportion blame and refute claims against the company made by the Government and the PSC in the first phase of trial.
Given what we already know about what took place aboard the Deepwater Horizon before the explosion that claimed 11 lives, it is not surprising that one of the wrongdoers has destroyed important evidence in an attempt to cover its tracks. The stakes will only go up from here, as the Limitation Trial’s second phase kicks off this month. This phase will examine how the parties controlled the spill and the total volume of oil spilled in the Gulf – facts that will mean billions of dollars to those responsible.
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