Compiled from Herald News Services
Friday, June 27, 2008
Victims of BP Plc's deadly 2005 Texas refinery explosion asked a U.S. Supreme Court justice to bar lower court action on what they called a "shockingly lenient" criminal plea deal until the plaintiffs can file a formal appeal.
The request, filed Thursday with Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in Washington, seeks to delay U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal from accepting the deal. Scalia is responsible for handling such requests from Texas.
The victims asked the court to send "the parties back to renegotiate in a process that protects the victims' rights." The plea was reached without required victim consultation, lawyer Paul Cassell said.
BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, pleaded guilty in October to one violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act linked to the blast, which killed 15 and injured hundreds. The London-based company agreed to pay $50 million and complete three years of probation. The victims are seeking a $3.2 billion fine, citing BP's revenue and alleged environmental and safety violations.
The company admitted responsibility for the explosion, while denying it caused all the injuries and property damage claimed in more than 4,000 lawsuits.
© The Calgary Herald 2008