Is This Fair to BP?
BP's decision to settle thousands of lawsuits arising from the terrible Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 must have seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, settlements of complex litigation are supposed to provide full compensation to injured parties, while quantifying a defendant's liability. Settlements also conserve scarce judicial resources and promote the efficient resolution of disputes. But in this case, BP's good faith effort to make whole the individuals and businesses harmed by the spill has morphed into a travesty of justice that threatens not only the financial future of a major U.S. employer and energy producer, but the integrity of the judicial process itself.