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LONDON -- Although it has paid out more than $5 billion in benefits so far through the BP and co-defendant Transocean under maritime laws. BP had argued that a different law prevents complainants from pursuing such lawsuits.
Punitive damages could be difficult to prove, however. To be eligible to receive punitive damages, a plaintiff must prove "extreme negligence" on the part of the defendant. According to the The Press Association, BP and other defendants vehemently deny the extreme negligence accusation.
Almost one million people have filed cases claiming they suffered economic losses as a result of the April 20, 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP subsequently created and funded the GCCF, along with the Obama Administration, to handle claims until 2013. About 3,000 employees were hired by the GCCF.
In yet another potential legal blow to BP, those GCCF employees are reportedly getting ready to enter meditation to determine if they were compensated justly for their work.
A total of $20 billion has been set aside by the U.S. government to handle claims alleged by Gulf Coast residents. BP has taken a $40-billion charge to cover the costs of compensation and clean-up costs.