US district judge, Carl Barbier, in an order made three days before the case had been due to go to trial, said the proposed terms of the class settlement would be submitted to court for approval.
He had already delayed the start of the trial to allow the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, representing fisherman and businesses whose livelihoods they said were damaged by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and massive oil spill from the Macondo well, to negotiate.
Lawyers for the committee, Stephen Herman and James Roy, said the settlement would compensate hundreds of thousands of victims.
“It does the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people,’ they said.
BP said the cost of the proposed settlement would be around US$7,8 billion, including a commitment of $2,3 billion to help resolve loss claims related to the Gulf seafood industry.
It said the proposed settlement was not an admission of liability and that BP would assign to the plaintiffs some of its claims against Transocean and Halliburton.
A settlement would remove a significant portion of the complex case, but it would not put an end to BP’s exposure. — Reuters