BP Faces Potential Litigation from Mexican Courts
Though the Deepwater Horizon exploded over 5 years ago, BP has only recently concluded major litigation with the United States. It reached its end with the largest settlement from a corporation in the history of the nation--$18.7 billion paid to the U.S. government, and another $43.8 billion portioned for additional penalties and continuous clean-up.
The company’s profits have taken a 40 percent dip from last year as they struggle with massive penalties and low prices for crude oil. And now, the corporation is facing a possible class action lawsuit from a Mexican civic group claiming that the BP spill is now affecting marine life off the shores of Mexico. The reason they hadn’t filed earlier, they argue, is that the oil spill had yet to reach Mexican waters. Now, five years later, that day has arrived and BP must now be made liable for the effects.
The lawsuit is based on two major pieces of evidence:
- BP’s prior acknowledgement of the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon
- Multiple studies revealing that there has been damage caused to Mexican shores
The case will argue that storms and ocean currents brought remaining toxins and oil from the spill toward the Mexican shore. However, the class action claim itself is a bit of a long shot. Mexican states and groups have attempted to file claims against BP in U.S. courts only to have their claims dismissed without the possibility of appeal.
The Mexican court will have to determine whether they will accept the claim within the next three months. BP has already paid out nearly $8 billion for environmental restoration alone—a Mexican suit filing for environmental damages might ask for a similar figure. Currently, BP’s stock is down 22 percent from last year. As the possibility of a massive claim solidifies (or even due to the fact that it is possible), British Petroleum’s prospects may continue to weaken.