27 million dollars for 21 million** gallons leaked?

June 4, 2010

As oil continue its heartbreaking gush into the Gulf of Mexico, so too continue the lawsuits, claims and legal maneuverings surrounding this national and natural catastrophe.  Senator Chuck Schumer indicated that he is seeking repeal of the legislation rig-owner Transocean plans to use to cap its liability for its role in the spill at $26.7 million.  Relying on the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851( starting at 46 U.S.C.A. § 30511), Transocean filed a petition with the Southern District of Texas seeking to limit its liability to the value of its interest in the destroyed oil rig itself (this is where the $26.7 million number comes from).    Interestingly enough, this same law is what the owners of the Titanic used to pay Titanic’s survivors $95,000 in damages.

You can find Transocean’s petition by going into the Southern District of Texas Filings Database (TX-SDCT-FILING) and running a search for any filing with Transocean as a party.  You will retrieve over 200 hits.  Look for the filing dated May 13, 2010.

The federal government’s response to Transocean’s petition has not yet been made available but will soon be accessible by running this same search and looking for documents dated June 1, 2010.

I imagine that one thing all parties agree on is that the oil needs to stop now and the clean-up/mitigation efforts must proceed with all earnestness.  Our thoughts are with the families and communities grappling with this tragedy.

**the figure of 21 million gallons used in the title was taken from PBS’s Gulf Oil Spill Tracker on June 3, 2010 at 5:40pm CST.