The American litigation system works but is very costly, slow, and cumbersome. The case against BP and its co-defendants involves hundred of plaintiffs. The co-defendants are adversarial to BP and to each other. This is one huge mess which will take years to untangle given all the rights to appeal. The litigation cost alone can fund Greece for months. Pre and post judgment interest adds to the damages by drip, drip, drip.
All this means that a settlement is in the works. BP cannot out lawyer the plaintiffs. They don't want all the witnesses to go on the stand and state how sloppy and money centric BP ran the well.
hope they do settle, good for all longs,I believe most of worst case scenario is already priced in the stock, else BP being most oily super majors, with brent touching 130 would have been 70's ( had been no Macondo spill)