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Penalty phase ends for BP after offshore accident

Earlier this month, the aftermath of the BP oil spill marked a new milestone. The penalty phase has now ended for the BP oil trial. This brings an end to almost two years of hard fought litigation. BP has paid almost $35 billion in penalties to date. Now one New Orleans writer is calling for an end to BP's sorrows.

The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was undoubtedly one of the worst oil spills in recent history. The oil company has been held to a with a barrage of fines, cleanup costs and compensation for those who lost income due to the accident. The final decision on this matter is in the hands of U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier. The Justice Department wants BP to pay the maximum fine under the Clean Water Act. This would total almost $14 billion. However, BP is fighting to receive a lower penalty.

In an editorial in a major financial newspaper, the writer proposes that the Justice Department should settle with BP. In his view, a large amount of money has already been paid by the oil company. The last fine does not have to meet the statutory maximum to send a message of deterrence to anyone whose negligence causes pollution to Gulf waters in the future.

When Judge Barbier renders his final decision, everyone will know the outcome on this matter. However, any offshore workers who have been injured during the course of their employment may want to seek legal counsel to determine their rights. The law provides several remedies under the Jones Act for anyone injured offshore accidents.

Source: The Times Picayune, "Should U.S. government end 'relentless pursuit' of BP over oil spill fines?," Jennifer Larino, Feb. 6, 2015

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