Judge Carl Barbier has refused to put on hold the $13.7 billion lawsuit between BP PLC and the United States government. The request by a group was to stay the lawsuit until the energy giant pays all economic and medical damages claims stemming from the blowout. The request was made by a class of individuals who say they were harmed by the disaster but haven’t yet been paid. Judge Barbier denied the motion to stay filed by a firm representing thousands of individuals who say they suffered financial and medical losses following the 2010 well explosion. The class asked that the penalty phase of the government’s trial be suspended until all those harmed by the spill are compensated.
BP and the U.S. Department of Justice are currently battling over how much the energy giant will have to pay for the environmental cost of the spill. Judge Barbier has already ruled that BP could be held liable for the disaster and in January capped any potential fine at $13.7 billion. The government is appealing that cap, arguing that its original request for an $18 billion maximum should be honored because Judge Barbier was wrong that only 3.19 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. The government estimates that 4.19 million barrels were released.
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