Alabama Attorney General Troy King [official website] on Thursday filed a lawsuit against BP for damages to the state's coast and economy, claiming that the oil giant has failed in its efforts to accept responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the Gulf of Mexico. King filed an additional lawsuit in the federal district court in Montgomery on Thursday against Transocean, Halliburton [corporate websites] and other companies associated with the oil spill on similar claims. The attorney general is seeking economic and punitive damages from the companies for negligent or wanton failure to adhere to recognized industry standards. The amount of damages being sought has not been specified. The lawsuits were opposed [AP report] by Alabama Governor Bob Riley (R) [official website] who had hoped to settle the dispute outside of the courtroom.
Numerous lawsuits are pending against BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon spill. In July, a class-action lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] was filed against the company in a Louisiana state court alleging that its negligent actions led to the spill and that BP was further negligent in its oversight of the cleanup effort, resulting in volunteers falling ill due to inadequate protective equipment. In June, two lawsuits were filed against BP [JURIST report] alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) [18 USC § 1961 et seq.] statute. The lawsuits allege that BP purposefully defrauded the American public in order to increase company profits. Also in June, Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] is reviewing whether any civil or criminal laws were violated [JURIST report] by BP resulting in the oil spill. Earlier this week BP and the DOJ announced the completion of negotiations over the implementation of a $20 billion fund [JURIST report] to aid victims of the oil spill. At the completion of the deal, BP made a $3 billion initial deposit into the fund, with another $2 billion planned for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010.