I truly think RIG is in for a major breakout! With BP taking the brunt of allegations, Transocean would have to be proven "grossly negligent" to be liable for damages. If BP is proven to be as I suspect they will be "grossly negligent" rigs liability is a mute point, as BP will be stuck picking up all liabilities.
As you say, RIG must be found "grossly negligent" to have further unindemnified liability exposure -- which is what the Plaintiffs Steering Committee lawyers are arguing. It's also true that BP faces real exposure to charges of "gross negligence" (led by the DOJ attorneys). But your suggestion that if BP is found to be grossly negligent, then RIG cannot also be grossly negligent, is wrong. There's no reason more than one defendant can't be found to be grossly negligent. I don't think it will happen that way, but it could.
The first witness was an "expert" who happened to be called by the gov't, which is gunning for BP and not RIG (having already settled with RIG). So of course that witness was going to slam BP. My point is that it will be a long trial, and various witness will be called by various plaintiff attorneys who want to to "point the finger" at various defendants (e.g., the attorneys representing the class of plaintiffs who settled with BP will call witnesses who are hypercritical of RIG and HAL, because they don't care about BP anymore; and the attorneys representing the 5 gulf states will take shots at all defendants, as they haven't settled with anyone).
It will be interesting to see the extent to which the publicly traded defendants' share prices fluctuate with the news reports, if at all.
No doubt but RIG stock has certainly been getting killed the last few days and was down over 9 points at one time today from it's recent high just a few days ago. Why does it look to me like the investing public still believes RIG is still "on the hook" at this point. Are they?? It doesn't seem so to me and maybe the public is a bit confused.....or maybe I AM? I honestly did not expect to see this kind of crash in the stock although I realize that oil prices have taken a recent hit. Still...Brent is still above $110 so what gives? When this trial wraps up or we wake up to a settlement with BP are we going to see another huge spike up in price as we did earlier? My crystal ball isn't working so well these days....opinions please?? It seems to me that however theis trial works out RIG is pretty much going to walk away clean of uninsured liability but the market obviously disagrees.......why??