BP's gross negligence trial opens in New Orleans
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Sunday 26 February 2012
The head of BP in the US oversaw an oil drilling operation that allowed workers to make cavalier decisions on safety and failed to investigate mistakes, it will be argued in a New Orleans court this week.
Lamar McKay is the first witness in what is expected to be a months-long trial to decide the extent of BP's culpability in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed 11 people. It pits 120,000 plaintiffs, including the US government, against BP and its partners, as well as pitting the partners against each other. The US government has accused BP of gross negligence.
Mr McKay is the most senior BP executive expected to take the stand. He will be followed by Mark Bly, executive vice-president for safety and operational risk. BP could face tens of billions of dollars in fines and punitive damages if gross negligence is proved.
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