April 20, 2010
An explosion on BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig kills 11 men and causes massive oil pollution in the Gulf
March 3, 2012
BP, represented by Kirkland & Ellis, announces a settlement of private economic and property damages claims; BP’s liability is not capped under the deal, but the company says it believes it will cost $7.8 billion. The settlement includes “causation tests” that analyze financial data to determine if a claimant qualifies for an award.
June 4, 2012
The Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program, headed by lawyer Patrick Juneau, begins processing claims.
Nov. 15, 2012
BP enters a guilty plea in the criminal case brought by the Department of Justice over the Deepwater disaster and agrees to pay $4.5 billion.
Dec. 21, 2012
New Orleans U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier approves the civil settlement.
BP objects to the accounting method that Juneau is using to process claims.
March 5, 2013
Barbier rules that Juneau is using the right accounting method.
June 26, 2013
BP starts running full-page ads in major newspapers complaining that claims are being allowed for losses unrelated to Deepwater.
July 8, 2013
At oral arguments in BP’s appeal of the accounting issue, Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit questions the constitutionality of a settlement that allows some plaintiffs to recover damages for losses not caused by BP.
Aug. 30, 2013
BP raises another Fifth Circuit appeal, claiming that Juneau is misapplying the settlement to allow claims for losses not caused by Deepwater. A settlement without such a causation element would violate the Constitution, argues BP counsel Theodore Olson.
Oct. 2, 2013
The Fifth Circuit upholds BP’s position on the accounting method for processing claims.
Nov. 22, 2013
Barbier criticizes BP and its lawyers for a “startling reversal” on the settlement’s causation requirements, and accuses them of trying to “rewrite” the agreement. Williams & Connolly now appears as BP’s lead counsel before Barbier, instead of Kirkland.
Dec. 24, 2013
Barbier rules that the settlement’s causation requirement is determined solely by the objective tests, rejecting BP’s argument that Juneau must also make a subjective finding whether losses were caused by the spill. BP later appeals.
Jan. 10, 2014
The Fifth Circuit rules against BP on its constitutional claim. BP asks for en banc review.