By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Margaret Cronin Fisk – Nov 4, 2011 8:45 PM GMT+0000
Louisiana won’t face penalties and possible dismissal of its 2010 oil-spill damage claims after complying with a court order to turn over state records to BP Plc (BP/), a federal judge said.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans said today in a one-page ruling that Louisiana “has certified to the court” that it is has turned over all applicable spill documents sought by BP for use in the first phase of litigation over the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan last week threatened to fine the state as much as $2,500 a day if officials didn’t produce the documents by Nov. 3. Shushan also said she would increase the fines and might dismiss all of Louisiana’s environmental and economic damage claims from the spill if the state missed further deadlines.
BP faces at least 350 lawsuits by coastal businesses and property owners for damages caused by more than 4.1 million gallons of crude oil that leaked from its Gulf of Mexico well last year. Louisiana has sued London-based BP for millions of dollars in environmental and economic damages and seeks pollution fines of at least $1 million a day.
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).