Since the agreement in principle between Alabama and BP was reached, there have been some complaints saying that Alabama’s share was too low. Those with an understanding of the case, however, know first hand that such complaints are completely misguided. First, our team evaluated every corner of Alabama’s economy, and we used numerous different economic models and accounting methods to understand the oil spill’s impact on Alabama. Moreover, we looked at every relevant national, regional and state indicator that could help isolate the oil spill’s impact to Alabama. Based on our knowledge of the case and with the assistance of the brightest experts in both Alabama and the nation, we can say without hesitation that this is a great deal for Alabama. People complaining about the deal have no idea of the challenges Alabama would have faced at trial. This type litigation is never as easy as some seem to think.
Second, any trial verdict in Alabama’s favor would most assuredly be appealed to the Eleventh Circuit and then to the United States Supreme Court. Appeals of this nature can oftentimes prove very unpredictable, and ultimately, can take many years to fully resolve. By way of example, appeals from the Exxon Valdez disaster were still in the appellate courts when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred. For those counting, that is more than 20 years of litigating, and there were major cuts to awards along the way in the appeals process.
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