Lawyers in our firm who have been working on the BP litigation are well aware of the tactics BP has used for two years to derail the settlement it agreed to with Gulf Coast residents. Our firm, having worked on significant litigation all over the nation for many years, has never seen or even heard of such an unprecedented and public effort to renege on a settlement after having totally supported the settlement just months earlier. Understandably, almost any casual observer who has followed this settlement and BP’s efforts has been dumbfounded by the company’s media campaign.
Yet, in BP’s recent financial statement, the company was required to tell its shareholders the truth because of laws requiring disclosure of events concerning its financial performance. The financial statement referenced the recent Supreme Court ruling that rejected the company’s campaign against the settlement, and stated: “the settlement agreement did not contain a causation requirement beyond the revenue and related tests.”
BP makes this statement now because it has no choice. But make no mistake – the company has proven time and time again that it will only do what is most convenient and financially beneficial at a particular time. Currently, we are seeing the company having to experience extremely unfamiliar territory. Historically, BP is used to getting everything it wants. If the company cannot buy its way to achieve whatever it desires, it will spend inordinate sums of money to bully its way to accomplishing its goal. These tactics have likely worked in the past. Thankfully, the court system has protected the settlement (and in the process, clear precedent on contractual precedent) notwithstanding the company’s unprecedented bullying tactics to destroy it.
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