Whitehouse Bill Clarifies Oil Spill Victims’ Right to Sue
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced a bill today that clarifies that victims of the Gulf oil spill can sue any party responsible for the disaster, not just BP.
The bill, the Oil Spill Victims Redress Act, would allow oil spill victims to sue other responsible parties including Transocean, which drilled the well, and Halliburton, which did the cementing of the well. Some Gulf lawyers have raised concerns about the issue, including whether oil spill victims that accept a final compensation payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will have to waive their right to sue all responsible parties or just BP.
In a statement, Whitehouse said:
Some of those parties are trying to evade responsibility by arguing that current law only allows BP to be held accountable for damages caused by the spill. This legislation will make clear that, going forward, liability extends to all responsible parties. It will also protect victims and allow for a more timely resolution for those touched by these types of disasters.