A judge has handed plaintiffs, who sustained losses during the BP oil rig explosion last year, a huge victory.  He has ruled that BP can indeed be sued for punitive damages.  According to Judge Carl Barbier plaintiffs are allowed under maritime law to make a claim for punitive damages.

BP, Transocean and other defendants have insisted that punitive damages cannot apply to this case, because another law called the US Oil Pollution Act prohibits plaintiffs from suing for the punitive damages.    The plaintiffs include individuals, companies and businesses that sustained financial losses as a result of the leak after the BP rig explosion last year.

In the same ruling, Judge Barbier dismissed all claims that were filed under state laws.  These claims must be filed under maritime law for them to proceed.  Additionally, the judge dismissed negligence claims against Anadarko and Mitsui, minority owners of the Macondo well.

The judge has also allowed companies with claims of lost revenues because of the federal administration’s moratorium on deep water drilling after the BP explosion last year, to proceed with their claims.  Boat owners, who filed claims after their vessels suffered damage during the oil spill cleanup efforts, have also been allowed to take their claims to court.

The lawsuits name BP, Transocean, Halliburton Co., which was responsible for the cement jobs on the rig and Cameron International Corporation.  The lawsuits are related to the explosion of the Transocean-owned, BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010.  The explosion left eleven oil rig workers dead, and dozens injured.  It also contributed to a massive leak from the Macondo oil well, destroying marine life and impacting local economies thousands of miles away.

The maritime law attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured offshore workers and families of offshore workers killed in accidents. SMSH is currently representing numerous individuals injured in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.