Judge orders US to pay $2.5bn in damages to plaintiffs over US oil spill

US courts have awarded damages to oil company Chevron Corp and other oil and gas companies to compensate victims of a spill in 2010 that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people and forced more than 200 million gallons of oil from the ground.

Chevron was fined $1.4bn in 2013 and has agreed to pay more than $4.6bn in fines since then. 

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Chevron, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other companies are demanding more than a billion dollars in damages, according to court documents filed late on Friday in Washington. 

“The plaintiffs’ claims have been settled by the defendants, and this judgment gives plaintiffs and all affected persons the right to recover those sums,” a summary of the settlement reads.

Chevron said it was “very pleased” with the settlement. 

In the latest case, which was originally filed in December, a federal jury awarded Chevron $1,400 per barrel in damages. 

A US district judge in San Francisco rejected the plaintiffs’ request to extend the settlement to cover all affected communities, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

 “We do not believe that this settlement is appropriate to cover this much of the population of the United States,” Chevron said in a statement.

“The parties will have a year to come up with a solution to resolve this issue.” 

The US is still struggling to recover from the spill and has already spent $1bn to repair and replace the oil that was dumped into the Pacific Ocean, which eventually reached the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Chevron is also facing claims from oil industry groups over its handling of the spill. 

Representatives of Chevron, Shell and BP told Reuters that the case is not a priority for the US court system and has no bearing on the company’s future operations in the US. 

(Reporting by Matthew Johnson; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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