After suffering a significant defeat from the Phase 1 trial findings, BP is now up to its same bag of tricks in an attempt to avoid responsibility from Judge Barbier’s gross negligence and willful misconduct findings. At the heart of BP’s argument is a contention that the trial court considered evidence offered by expert Dr. Gene Beck that should have been excluded. However, it appears BP opened the door to the testimony, and the US Government along with Halliburton are openly criticizing BP’s attempt to exclude the evidence.
In response to BP’s motion for a new trial, Halliburton stated that “[i]n its cross-examination of Dr. Beck, BP itself explored the bases for Dr. Beck’s opinion that the…data indicates at least 140,000 pounds of compressive force on the production casing. Accordingly, BP’s cross-examination also opened the door to Dr. Beck’s further testimony on redirect on the topic BP now contends was excluded.” The Department of Justice also objected to BP’s motion with similar claims as Halliburton. Halliburton argued that “[r]egardless of its precise nature…the improper cement placement resulted from multiple negligent acts by BP, including the four acts BP now seeks to cut from the chain of causation.”
The Phase 1 trial findings will play a major role in establishing BP’s liability in the Clean Water Act civil penalties trial. If those rulings remain intact, BP could face a civil penalty of up to $18 billion. Predictably, BP is doing everything in its power to avoid responsibility, and there is no telling what tricks the company will pull as we get closer to the penalty trial. We will report more as the trial draws closer.
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