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The BP B1 Bundle Ruling: Federal Statutory Displacement of General Maritime Law (Part 1)

January 2014

Citation: 44 ELR 10022

Issue: 1

Author: John J. Costonis

Among the many unresolved legal questions posed by the Deepwater Horizon well blowout are whether and to what extent maritime tort negligence remedies escape displacement by relevant federal statutes, including, principally, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. OPA jurisprudence over two decades holds that OPA displaces these remedies. Contrarily, however, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana’s decision in In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” (B1 Bundle) insists that general maritime law affords a parallel track to OPA’s remedies for economic and property oil discharge losses suffered by private claimants.

John J. Costonis is Chancellor-Emeritus and Professor of Law, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University.

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