Why BP Is Responsible for Damages Caused by the Moratorium

New Orleans, LA BP Oil Spill Damages Lawyers

Offshore-MaritimeBP has pretended, for the past four years, that there is some type of “Moratorium defense” to economic loss claims under the Oil Pollution Act.  As exhaustively examined in a recent filing, the attorneys appointed by the Court to litigate the issue for offshore oil and gas companies do not believe that any such legal defense exists.

Quite simply:  The Spill – either alone or in combination with other factors, including the deepwater Moratoria and other material slow downs and changes in deepwater and shallow water permitting – caused or contributed to a loss of profit and/or impairment of earning capacity to the offshore support and supply companies.

Offshore RigsWhere a spill causes or contributes to an economic loss, in whole or in part, the Responsible Party under the Oil Pollution Act is liable for 100% of that loss.

As a matter of causation, OPA does away with the traditional “proximate cause” concepts of “superseding” or “intervening” cause. OPA, rather, only allows the Responsible Party to avoid liability where it first proves that the discharge in question was caused “solely” by the fault of a third party. And, to the extent that BP attempts to escape liability by alleging that the damages were caused by the “fault” of the United States Government, (not only is this factually unsupportable, but) neither OPA nor the general maritime law allows for the quantification of fault against an immune or absent third party.

Offshore Ship TrafficNevertheless, and assuming arguendo that a traditional “superseding” cause defense might be legally available, a change in permitting requirements in the wake of a Macondo-like event was not only foreseeable, but it was likely, and therefore BP cannot establish that either the formal Moratoria or related permitting issues were a “superseding” cause of damages suffered by offshore exploration and development businesses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

What does this mean in plain non-legal-mumbo-jumbo English?  BP caused the Moratorium, and should therefore pay for the damages caused by the Moratorium to the oil and gas industry.



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New Orleans, LA 70113
Phone: (504) 581-4892

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