Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida to sue BP over economic damages from oil spill

Oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. An explosion the day before at the offshore platform killed 11 men, and the subsequent leak released an estimated 172 million gallons of petroleum into the gulf.

Associated Press (2010)

Oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. An explosion the day before at the offshore platform killed 11 men, and the subsequent leak released an estimated 172 million gallons of petroleum into the gulf.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said Friday that she will file a lawsuit today against BP and Halliburton seeking damages as a result of the oil spill that sullied the Gulf of Mexico three years ago.

The state's announcement came the same day the state of Mississippi and the city of Tampa announced their own suits against BP and its partners.

"The state of Florida suffered considerable economic losses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," Bondi said in a news release. "BP and Halliburton must be held accountable."

Bondi will file the suit under the federal Oil Pollution Act, just barely within the law's three-year statute of limitation, in U.S. District Court in Panama City.

The state declined to say how much money in damages it will seek. But officials said Florida lost revenues from various sources as a result of the spill, including sales taxes, corporate taxes, documentary stamp taxes and taxes on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.

Florida also wants punitive damages under maritime and Florida common law "due to the egregious nature of the misconduct" that led to the disaster, Bondi's announcement said.

This lawsuit will not address damages to the state's environment, which Bondi's office said continue to be studied.

Already, Louisiana and Alabama are involved in a massive federal trial in New Orleans to sort out the liability of Transocean, the operator of the oil rig, and its partners.

Tampa lawyer Steven Yerrid, who is representing Tampa in its lawsuit and once served as Gov. Charlie Crist's special counsel on the spill, has criticized Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott for not previously joining the Transocean litigation.

In 2011, Bondi and Scott said they were not joining the Transocean suit because they wanted to avoid costly litigation and pursue a claim directly with BP.

"It doesn't make sense for the state to join that lawsuit," Scott said then. His office did not immediately respond to news of Bondi's pending lawsuit.

Working for Crist, Yerrid helped draft a proposed settlement that would have established a fund for Florida to draw from as it discovered damages from the spill.

It would have been similar to the $20 billion fund the company created to respond to business and personal claims.

But when Scott took office, Yerrid said, the idea fizzled.

"Ultimately, I hope the state of Florida succeeds, but it is really unfortunate that so much time has been allowed to pass without any resolution," he said.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company had no comment.

Meanwhile, Tampa filed its own suit against BP, Transocean and several other companies.

In January, the city claimed it had sustained or will suffer nearly $59.4 million in damages because of lost revenues from local taxes and fees.

In a brief letter dated Monday, BP denied the claim, saying Tampa's "losses are not the result of the oil spill" because BP's oil did not damage or destroy a natural resource close to the city.

Nonsense, said Yerrid, who hired forensic accountants to document the damages.

"Conventions were canceled," he said. "Rooms were canceled. Tourists did not come. Tourists that were here left. There is absolutely zero question about the impact."

Florida to sue BP over economic damages from oil spill 04/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.