Oil Spill Drama Not Enough? BP Also Faces Toxicity Claims
“I don’t see how the jury can be anything but friendly to the plaintiffs,” Houston trial attorney David Berg told Bloomberg in a phone interview, explaining BP’s (NYSE:BP) latest legal battle: 48,000 toxic exposure claims made near residents of a Texas refinery. The company “has such a terrible reputation for recklessness and disregard for safety, you could probably try this case in England and win,” he added. BP is based in London.
The resident’s lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, told the publication that BP knowingly released approximately 500,000 pounds of toxic chemicals — including benzene — from an improperly functioning refinery unit at the company’s Texas City plant. Typically, flare stacks are used to burn off such gases, but in this case, the flare was incapable of destroying the toxins, a fact BP knew, according to Buzbee.
However, he claimed that the company would have lost more than $20 million if it had closed the refinery unit while making repairs. “BP decided there was just too much money to be made at the time, so they decided to flare the emissions and take the consequences,” Buzbee said. He plans to asks jurors to send the company a message that, “The wanton poisoning of an entire community is not an acceptable business practice,” he told Bloomberg.