Flow of oil spill litigation gushing faster than BP’s oil

The one thing that may well keep pace with the spewing oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico is the gusher of litigation that’s beginning to surround BP – British Petroleum.

First, there’s the matter of the 11 deaths that resulted from the April 20 explosion and inferno that engulfed the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast. Next come the injuries to the survivors of the accident.

Then there’s the mountain of lawsuits that will be generated from the length and breadth of the Gulf states from individuals and business interests who have suffered losses of all kinds because of the oil spill.

But the most protracted litigation will likely be the environmental litigation. Class action and individual lawsuits have already been filed against BP and those lawsuits will grow with each passing day and each additional gallon of oil that fouls the Gulf.

BP’s general counsel on Friday sent a letter to the five state attorneys general along the Gulf Coast, assuring them that his company will pay claims quickly and not require claimants to sign release of liability forms to receive payments.