As repeated attempts to plug the gushing oil in the Gulf of Mexico fail, the responsible companies are hard at work… that is, hard at work to limit their liabilities. Transocean, the company that leased the rig to BP to drill, is attempting to claim, using a maritime law from 1851, that their liability ends at the cost of their now-ruined oil rig that lies on the bottom of the Gulf. The United States Justice Department is investigating this catastrophe to examine whether or not criminal and civil laws were violated by the company. Margaret Cronin Fisk and Laurel Brubaker Calkins of Bloomberg.com share details of a letter written by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West to the lawyers at Transocean:
“It is simply unconscionable, in the circumstances of this case, that Transocean is attempting to use this” law to avoid paying states or the U.S. for damages caused by the rig explosion, West said in a May 24 letter to Transocean’s lawyers.
The law cited by Transocean, the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, is pre-empted by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the U.S. said. The claims of state governments are also “not subject to the limitation act,” West wrote.
Time and time again, it seems as if we place too much trust in these large corporations. We ask them to do the right thing, but yet they still remain motivated by greed and profit. With the oil coming within nine miles of our own precious state of Florida (as of June 2nd), we are bracing for the negative impact this oil spill is sure to have. Countless lives and livelihoods are at stake, yet the companies responsible for this chaos still remain self-centered and callous.
At Perenich The Law Firm, our experienced personal injury attorneys help represent you and others in our Clearwater/St. Petersburg community and the greater Tampa Bay area. As a society, we should have little tolerance for companies that cause injury and damage with such recklessness, and we will continue to fight against coldhearted corporations that continually fail to recognize their responsibilities to society.