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Transocean Ltd. Message Board

  • central_scrutinizer_fz central_scrutinizer_fz Feb 27, 2013 2:00 PM Flag

    tis about sums up the case against RIG and BPs efforts to spread the blame

    Transocean attorney Kerry Miller earlier questioned Lamar McKay, who was president of BP America at the time of the disaster. McKay said he personally did not know of any reason to be critical of Transocean or its crew members on the rig and acknowledged that BP still leases three rigs from Transocean operating in the Gulf.

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    • BP is not RIG's enemy in this trial. RIG's adversaries are the lawyers for the class-plaintiffs who seek an award of punitive damages from RIG; they have relinquished their compensatory damage claims against RIG (and HAL) as a condition of their settlement with BP, because BP would have had to indemnify RIG (and HAL) against compensatory damages.

      It looks like BP's trial strategy is to acknowledge its responsibility while making the point that the incident was the result of a group failure that amounts to ordinary negligence by itself, RIG and HAL, rather than BP's failure alone. It's goal is to limit the finding against it to ordinary negligence, as opposed to gross negligence, because a gross negligence finding against BP could quadruple its per-barrel fine under the CWA. I think BP doesn't want a finding of gross negligence against ANY defendant, because regardless of whether the club of grossly negligent plaintiffs is large or small, BP would surely be the first member.

      As for RIG, a finding that it was grossly negligent would expose it to the class plaintiffs' punitive damage claims, whereas a finding of ordinary negligence would be very tolerable considering its indemnity rights, etc. So, ironically, BP's defense strategy is not necessarily bad for RIG because if the judge were to find that BP's fault level was just "ordinary" negligence, then there's no way he'd find RIG's fault level "gross" negligence (i.e., worse than BP). JMHO.

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