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Victim's father unhappy with BP's Deepwater Horizon plea deal

In April 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast left 11 workers dead and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The BP oil well remained uncapped for three months as more than 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Recently, BP agreed to pay $4 billion to settle criminal charges stemming from the disaster, but at least one father who lost a son in the drilling accident says the deal is insufficient. In a court filing, the father of a deceased rig tool pusher charges that BP should be fined $45 billion, which is the London-based company's one-year revenue.

The court filing was made in Louisiana court under a law that allows the victims of crimes to comment on plea deals before they are approved by the court. A U.S. District Court judge is expected to consider BP's plea bargain with federal prosecutors at a Jan. 29 hearing in New Orleans. The agreement may only be approved or denied, and cannot be altered.

Also in his filing, the father argues that BP was wrong to deny restitution to parents who lost adult children in the rig explosion. He said BP "hid behind the Death on the High Seas Act," which governs the compensation available to families and dependents of maritime workers who are killed as result of negligence. The father wrote that denying parents restitution is essentially "saying your son's life is worth nothing."

A BP spokesman responded to the allegations by saying that BP "regrets the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident," and that the company has stepped up by "paying legitimate claims" and leading relief efforts in the Gulf.

Source: Bloomberg, "Rig Worker's Father Seeks to Derail $4 Billion BP Deal," Laurel Brubaker Calkins & Margaret Cronin Fisk, Dec. 18, 2012

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