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BP Trial Begins Final Phase

Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

“He concluded that there had been gross negligence in leading to the blowout but he did not conclude that there had been gross negligence in relation to the cleanup and other aspects of the response," Davies said. "And that is also something that BP is going to be focusing on in arguing for something less than the maximum penalty.”

Barbier ruled last week that the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico amounts to 3.19 million barrels. Now he will be hearing arguments on how much the oil giant should pay in Clean Water Act fines. Eighty percent of that money will remain in the five states affected by the spill.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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