We blogged on Thursday about the initial lawsuits getting filed over the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Those suits, however, are likely to turn out to represent just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the legal trouble likely facing a host of defendants, including BP, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, and others.
The legal process is likely to unfold in three stages.
First, you’ll likely see the “cleanup wave.” The “responsible party” typically ends up footing the bill for this, although the government plays the leading role in the nuts and bolts of the cleanup.
The “second wave,” will involve “the blame game” — figuring out, in other words, how to apportion blame and to whom. 7 or 8 federal entities” will get involved, including the Justice Department, local U.S. attorneys’ offices, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Minerals Management Service.
We might ultimately see prosecutions under the Clean Water Act, which contains felony and misdemeanor provisions. And you’ll likely see one criminal prosecution as soon as one dead bird turns up, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. There’s never been a spill case that hasn’t involved a criminal prosecution of the Migratory Bird Act.
Finally, we’ll enter the stage to determine who’s going to pay — and how much. Payments typically come in three forms: fines, paying for cleanups, and paying for longterm fixes.
In regard to private lawsuits, shortly after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which created a statutory scheme for compensating those financially hurt by a spill. The act established a fund, to be paid for by the oil industry, which is then used to pay out on claims. It’s a massive system designed to get people made whole more quickly.
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, dangerous and defective drugs, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Dallas Texas Personal Injury Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 888-210-9693 or Contact Me Online.
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