Victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill who receive compensation from BP's (BP) $20 billion escrow fund can't sue the U.K.-based firms' partners as well, according to BP executives and many others. But Ken Feinberg, the former pay czar who will run the huge escrow account, says that this may not be so.
Feinberg told reporters, "The question of whether or not a final payment will require a claimant to release one defendant, BP, or all defendants, has not yet been resolved by me," according to an article by Bloomberg. That could put other firms that worked on the well, like Transocean (RIG), in harm's way within the legal system and expose them to billions of dollars in liabilities.
Feinberg's comments make sense. Transocean and other companies involved in drilling the ruptured Macondo well have not paid any money into the escrow account. If Feinberg's decision goes against BP's partners, it could set off another round of litigation between BP and the companies involved in the building and oversight of the Deepwater Horizon rig about who is liable for claims arising out of the disaster. And lawyers may be the only winners of that battle.