Barbier dismisses RICO claims in BP MDL

Alejandro de los Rios Jul. 18, 2011, 3:59am


U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued an order dismissing claims brought under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against BP and its partners for their involvement in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Barbier, who is overseeing the massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding the oil spill in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, issued the ruling July 15.

The RICO claims were part of a pleading bundle consisting of five complaints that alleged BP defrauded government regulators in connection with the safety of its drilling operations.

BP denied the claims in a motion to dismiss filed in February.

The motion argued that the RICO complaints failed to satisfy the statute's proximate-causation requirement because the complaints said BP defrauded the government, not the plaintiffs.

BP claimed the plaintiffs claims were based on "speculative assumptions."

"The Court agrees with BP that Plaintiffs have alleged a causall connection between BP's alleged fraud and Plaintiff's injuries that is too attenuated to state a RICO violation," Barbier wrote in his order.

"In order for Plaintiffs to prevail on their theory of causation, they must rely on this particular domino effect stemming from BP's alleged fraud."

This order does not affect any of the other claims brought on by plaintiffs against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and subsequent oil spill.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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