King, BP meet to discuss lawsuit

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 9, 2010, 2:24pm


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - Alabama Attorney General Troy King and members of his staff met on Wednesday with lawyers for oil giant BP in what was described as an "introductory meeting."

King and his staff, along with representatives from the oil company, discussed the lawsuit he filed against the company for lost tax revenue by the state because of the Gulf oil spill, according to The Associated Press.

An explosion and fire occurred on Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, licensed to BP, on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

King announced in July he was preparing a lawsuit to make up for lost tax revenue. He described the spill as "the largest legal disaster ever encountered," and said the state would be working for years to rebuild its economy.

Subsequently, last month, King sued BP and its partner companies, accusing them of negligence and reckless behavior. The suits seek economic and punitive damages. No specific amount was listed.

Wednesday's meeting was used to go over both side's positions, the attorney general told The Associated Press. King expressed disappointment that Gov. Bob Riley didn't send a representative.

Riley's communications director, Jeff Emerson, told the AP the governor's office did not have a lawyer available to attend.

The governor and attorney general continue to butt heads over the seeking of payments from BP.

The governor has filed a $148 million claim against the oil company and issued an executive order that restricts King's authority to hire private lawyers to help represent the state. Riley believes the lawsuit is delaying collection of any money.

Meanwhile, King has suggested Riley does not grasp the stakes in the multimillion-dollar case.

The attorney general told the AP both the lawsuit and the governor's claim were discussed during the meeting and that it's not unusual for a lawsuit and a claim to continue at the same time.

BP officials did not comment on the meeting.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the results of a four-month internal investigation into the causes of the spill were released.

According to the report, a "complex and interlinked series" of failures -- equipment, engineering and judgment -- led to the surge of oil and gas that exploded on the deck of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

The report was written by a team of 50 internal and external experts led by the company's head of safety and operations, Mark Bly.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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