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From Products Liability Law Daily, September 3, 2014

Halliburton agrees to pay $1.1 billion to settle Deepwater Horizon claims

By Eric Larsen

In a settlement agreement reached in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Halliburton Company agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle damage claims arising out of the Deepwater Horizon incident (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, Sept. 2, 2014, Shushan, S.). The settlement agreement requires the company to make an aggregate payment of $1,028,000,000 to resolve alleged liability for punitive damages claims against the company. Halliburton also will pay $99,950,000 towards attorneys’ fees and costs.

Background. In April 2010, the mobile offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon experienced a catastrophic blowout and explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in 11 deaths and the largest spill of crude oil in U.S. history. The spill inflicted billions of dollars in property and environmental damages, consequently giving rise to much litigation.

Settlement to address damage claims. The settlement agreement addresses damages claims that may be made against Halliburton for its role in the Deepwater Horizon incident, including claims of negligence, gross negligence, willful misconduct, strict liability, negligence per se, nuisance, trespass, and other claims. The settlement agreement does not apply to any bodily injury claims.

Under the terms of the class action settlement, parties who may have valid punitive damages claims against Halliburton arising from the Deepwater Horizonincident could receive payment from the settlement. The settlement class includes persons, businesses, trusts, non-profits, commercial fishermen, charterboat operators, or other entities in the Gulf Coast area who, anytime between April 20, 2010 through April 18, 2012, incurred damages due to the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Halliburton will pay an aggregate amount of $1,028,000,000 into a Grantor Trust established as a qualified settlement fund. An initial payment into the Grantor Trust of $361,333,334 will be made within 30 days of filing of the settlement agreement with the court. A second payment of $333,333,333 into the Grantor Trust will be made within one year after filing of the settlement agreement with the court. A final payment of $333,333,333 will be made within two years after filing of the settlement agreement. Payments from the trust to claimants will be supervised by a Special Master appointed by the court.

The settlement agreement also provides for establishment of a court-supervised claims program. A Claims Administrator appointed by the court will develop a distribution model for resolving claims. The plan for distributing payments may include standards for establishing claims for: real property damage; personal property damage, including vessel damage; commercial fishing loss; charter fishing loss; subsistence loss; and other losses as necessary to distribute the settlement funds.

The case number is MDL No. 2179.

Attorneys: Stephen J. Herman (Herman Herman & Katz LLC) and James Parkerson Roy (Domengeaux Wright Roy & Edwards LLC) for DHEPDS Class. Donald E. Godwin (Godwin Lewis PC) for Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Halliburton Co.

Companies: Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Halliburton Co.

MainStory: TopStory ChemicalNews DamagesNews SettlementAgreementsNews LouisianaNews

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