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Cameron won' t face punitive damages in Deepwater Horizon spill trial


TEXAS -- Cameron International won' t face punitive damages stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled.

Cameron manufactured the blowout preventer that was connected to the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded in 2010, leading to 11 deaths and the worst offshore oil spill in United States history. The blowout preventer, a tall stack of valves that is intended to seal off an out of control well, failed to stop the explosion.

Judge Carl Barbier, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New Orleans, granted Cameron' s motion for judgment denying the plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages against the company. The civil trial, which began last month, wraps together hundreds of civil claims and cross-claims made against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and other companies and businesses, the Gulf Coast states, and the Justice Department. In the first phase, Judge Barbier will determine the degree of culpability each company has for the accident.

In 2011, Cameron paid BP $250 million to settle most of the legal claims arising from the spill. BP agreed to indemnify Cameron against all claims for compensatory damages, but the agreement didn' t cover fines, penalties or punitive damages. Judge Barbier dismissed M-I Swaco, a drilling-fluid provider that is now a unit of Schlumberger, from the lawsuit.

"We are very pleased with the court' s complete dismissal of M-I Swaco from the Deepwater Horizon lawsuit and its finding that M-I had no fault whatsoever in connection with the events that led to the blowout and explosion" said Stephen Harris, a spokesman for Schlumberger. "While we are thankful to put this behind us, our thoughts today are with those whose lives were forever altered, including the two M-I Swaco employees who died and the three who survived."

Dow Jones Newswires



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