BP Wins Key Pre-Trial Motions in Federal Court Over Gulf Oil Spill

Feb 10, 2012

BP has won a ruling that bars some references to earlier accidents from a trial over its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal judge hearing the case feared opening a “trial within a trial.”

U-S District Judge Carl Barbier will not allow evidence involving the 2005 accident at a BP refinery in Texas that killed 15 people. And he won’t allow evidence of the 2006 break in a BP pipeline in Alaska that spilled 200,000 gallons of oil. Barbier says both prior incidents were land-based and circumstances of the Macondo offshore well blowout and the refinery explosion are “vastly different.” Barbier is hearing the case without a jury. He’ll first decide legal responsibility of the explosion, fire and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, in which 11 men were killed. The main defendants are BP, rig owner Transocean and cement contractor Halliburton. The trial is set to begin February 27th in New Orleans.