BP will start their case-in-chief on Monday. BP told the Court that they estimate completing their case between the 18th and 23rd. The Court has already determined that in lieu of closing arguments, the parties will submit closing briefs. That will shave about a week off of the proceedings.
The HAL case has been rough for BP and HAL, and has been pretty neutral to good for RIG.
BP has been running their case for a few days. Things still going pretty well for RIG. One issue that BP experts have been trying to pin on RIG has to do with whether, and if so in timely manner, diverted the gas when it first came on board, using the overboard diverter mechanism, as opposed to diverting a a smaller onboard collection pool called a separator.
Evidence strongly suggest that (1) industry standard is not to immediately divert overboard for environmental reasons (2) time was of the essence given the speed of the blowout, but it is very likely that RIG crew eventually diverted overboard consistent with what should have been done in the emergency situation. Nothing that was done could have been characterized as grossly negligent or reckless, so I think RIG is safe on this.
The scary issue for RIG remains the batteries and miswired solenoid on the blowout preventer -- but its still a big stretch to call either grossly negligent for reasons I can lay out if anyone cares....
I don't understand how they could blame a BOP for the blowout....it would have been great if it worked, but I don't think it's billed as a failsafe device. There's no way to prove, even if it was in perfect working order, that the BOP would have prevented the blowout it this particular situation....
I thought it would be worthwhile to get a legal definition of "gross negligence"
"carelessness which is in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, and is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people's rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, but it is just shy of being intentionally evil. If one has borrowed or contracted to take care of another's property, then gross negligence is the failure to actively take the care one would of his/her own property. If gross negligence is found by the trier of fact (judge or jury), it can result in the award of punitive damages on top of general and special damages."
Seems like a pretty high hurdle to meet by the Judge based on the testimony so far. I am beginning to think that BP may have been right that it was a convergence of mistakes/errors that perhaps individually were not the sole source of the accident but together caused a chain reaction resutling in the accident.
The issue remains that the BP Site Managers may have had sufficient information to doubt the Negative Pressure Test and nvertheless proceeded with the process. That could, by itself be determined to be gross negligence but was it BP that is at fault or the Well Site Managers. Maybe that why they have both taken the 5th!!!!!