Originally posted by Sheila McNulty - Financial Times - May 8, 2010
Brent Coon & Associates, the lead counsel in the fatal BP Texas City explosion of 2005, is asking US courts to revoke a probation agreement with the UK oil company and re-establish legal proceedings in light of the Gulf oil spill.
US Judge Lee Rosenthal should reconsider the government’s 2007 plea agreement with BP for a $50m fine and a three-year probation period, Brent Coon said in a letter to Judge Rosenthal dated May 6 that he made public Friday.
His firm represented a number of victims of the BP Texas City refinery explosion of March 2005 who opposed the plea agreement entered into between the Department of Justice and BP in connection with the explosion.
“Our clients were understandably upset that the sentencing was so lenient in the first place and further upset when BP violated the terms of the probation last year by not complying with the terms, including compliance with the OSHA settlement agreement,” Mr Coon said. OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In October 2009, OSHA issued $87.4m in proposed penalties for the company’s failure to correct potential hazards faced by employees – the largest fine in the agency’s history. BP has said it believed it was in compliance and is fighting the citations, noting $1bn spent since the accident on improvements in safety and processes across its refining system.
“We are asking Judge Rosenthal to immediately revoke the probation agreement and re-establish ongoing legal proceedings against BP,” Mr Coon said. “Only then will justice be served for the victims and families of yet another BP catastrophe.”’
BP did not immediately respond to a request for a response.