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4 suits from BP plant blast settled

4 suits from BP plant blast settled

Victims of BP PLC's deadly 2005 refinery explosion have settled all but one of the more than 4,000 lawsuits that were filed after the accident, attorneys and a state district judge said Friday.
Attorneys for blast victims announced Friday that four lawsuits have been settled in the Texas City explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 170. State District Judge Susan Criss said a hearing is scheduled next month in the only remaining case.
The terms of the settlements announced Friday, as has been the case when other blast-related suits have been resolved, were confidential.
"Our clients are very pleased with the settlement, which provide some assurances of security for their long-term financial needs," said Brent Coon, an attorney for blast victims.
A spokeswoman for London-based BP did not immediately return a telephone call Friday.
Although various blast-related lawsuits went to trial, all were settled before they reached a jury.
The explosion occurred after a piece of equipment called a blowdown drum overfilled with highly flammable liquid hydrocarbons. The excess liquid and vapor hydrocarbons were vented from the drum and ignited at the startup of the isomerization unit _ a device that boosts the octane in gasoline. Alarms and gauges that were supposed to warn of the overfilled equipment did not work properly.
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, in its final report, found BP fostered bad management at the plant and that cost-cutting moves by BP were factors in the explosion.
Still pending is a decision from a federal judge in Houston on whether she will accept a guilty plea from BP to settle a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice on the explosion. The much criticized plea deal calls for a $50 million fine and sentences the oil giant to three years' probation for its role in the blast.
Many blast victims think the fine is low and that BP would not meet its safety obligations at the refinery.
Federal prosecutors and BP have defended the plea agreement, saying it's the harshest option available in assessing criminal punishment. A congressional committee is investigating the deal.


Updated : 2021-08-01 06:55 GMT+08:00