Sept 4 BP Plc was found "grossly
negligent" on Thursday by a federal judge in connection with its
role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The decision by U.S.
District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, who oversees
litigation related to the disaster, is likely to boost the
British oil company's costs emerging from the biggest offshore
spill in U.S. history. :
* April 20, 2010 RIG EXPLODES: An explosion on the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig at the Macondo exploration well kills 11 workers
and releases millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of
Mexico. The well is capped in mid-July. BP ultimately sets aside
$42 billion to pay for cleanup costs, damages and penalties.
* November 2012 CRIMINAL CASE SETTLED: BP agrees to pay $4.5
billion in fines and other penalties and pleads guilty to 14
criminal charges. The U.S. government bans BP from new federal
contracts, imperiling the company's role as a top U.S. offshore
oil producer and No. 1 military fuel supplier. Separately, the
U.S. Department of Justice files criminal charges against three
BP employees in connection with the accident.
* December 2012 CLASS ACTION SETTLED: Barbier gives final
approval to BP's settlement with individuals and businesses
claiming to have lost money and property because of the spill.
BP initially estimates it will pay $7.8 billion to settle more
than 100,000 claims, but the dollar amount is not capped. The
company later says the payout may grow substantially, in part
because of payouts to many claimants who suffered no harm, and
files numerous legal challenges to the agreement.
* February 2013 CIVIL TRIAL BEGINS: Officials from the
federal government and several U.S. states begin facing BP in
court at a three-phase civil trial over how blame should be
apportioned between BP, Transocean Ltd, which owned the
drilling rig, and Halliburton Co, which did cement work.
Government lawyers urge Barbier to find BP grossly negligent,
which could roughly quadruple the amount of fines under the U.S.
Clean Water Act.
* Sept. 30, 2013 SECOND PHASE OF TRIAL BEGINS: The second
phase begins to determine how much oil was spilled.
* Sept. 4, 2014 JUDGE FINDS BP BEARS MOST OF THE BLAME:
Barbier finds BP "grossly negligent" for its role in the oil
spill. He assigns 67 percent of the fault to BP, 30 percent to
Transocean and 3 percent to Halliburton. BP pledges to appeal.
* January 2015 NEXT PHASE OF TRIAL SCHEDULED TO BEGIN:
Barbier is scheduled to determine how much oil was spilled. The
amount would be used to calculate damages.
(Compiled by David Gregorio; Editing by Howard Goller)