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Justice Department Cites BP for negligence in Gulf Oil Spill

Reuters (9/5, Ingram) reports that the US Justice Department has sharply criticized BP PLC in new court papers regarding the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The papers describe allegations of negligence and misconduct on BP's part, and the court filing represents the sharpest position yet taken by the US government in its effort to hold the firm accountable in the largest oil spill in US history. Reuters adds that BP and the US government are currently in talks about settling civil and potential criminal liability.

Forbes (9/5, Helman) reports that "among a litany of condemnations, DOJ's attorneys assert that the behavior of BP executives in the days leading up to the disaster 'would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall." Forbes adds, "The DOJ filed its 39-page brief in US District Court in Louisiana where BP is in the process of settling the civil damages case brought by a giant group of fishermen, hoteliers and citizens damaged by the spill."

CNBC (9/5, Crooks) reports, "If the DoJ can establish gross negligence, the penalties under the Clean Water Act would be up to $21 billion, depending on how much oil was spilled. Compensatory and punitive damages would come on top of that sum. BP has always denied gross negligence and said in a statement on Tuesday that it 'looks forward to presenting evidence on this issue at trial in January.'"