Bloomberg News

Anadarko Doesn’t Have to Face Some BP Spill Cleanup Claims

October 01, 2011

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Anadarko Petroleum Corp. won’t have to face personal injury claims arising from exposure to oil and other chemicals in the cleanup campaign following the 2010 BP Plc spill in Gulf of Mexico.

Anadarko and Mitsui & Co.’s Moex Offshore unit, BP’s minority partners in the doomed well, can’t be held responsible for these claims under maritime law, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said yesterday. He previously dismissed maritime claims against the two companies in lawsuits brought by businesses and individuals alleging economic losses.

“Anadarko and Moex are dismissed as defendants” in these suits claiming personal injury caused by exposure, Barbier said in the ruling. The plaintiffs can continue claims for chemical or oil exposure injuries against other defendants and most can seek punitive damages, he said.

The Macondo well blowout and the explosion that followed killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The accident and spill led to hundreds of lawsuits against London-based BP and its partners and contractors, including multiple claims brought by vessel captains, residents and others exposed to chemicals and oil during the cleanup.

Barbier’s order yesterday dismisses personal injury claims by cleanup workers and coastal residents or tourists who didn’t mention a specific health problem resulting from their exposure to the oil slick or chemical dispersants in their claims against the spill companies.

Symptoms, Monitoring

“The bottom line is people who were exposed to oil or dispersants with manifest symptoms have the right to pursue personal injury damages and request medical monitoring,” Steve Herman, a lawyer for spill victims, said yesterday in a phone interview. “People who may have been exposed but are completely asymptomatic can’t sue for damages.”

John Christiansen, a spokesman for The Woodlands, Texas- based Anadarko, declined to comment on the ruling. A Moex spokesman also declined to comment on it.

The case is In Re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

--With assistance from Allen Johnson Jr. in New Orleans. Editors: Michael Hytha, Sylvia Wier

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net; Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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