Non-jury trial may favor BP in Gulf oil spill case
on March 02, 2013 at 7:49 AM, updated March 02, 2013 at 8:17 AM
NEW ORLEANS – In the biggest environmental case in U.S. history, BP and its partners on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig caught a break by not having to defend themselves before a Louisiana jury, according to legal experts.
The British oil company is facing civil charges for its role in the April 20, 2010, catastrophe, which killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf.
The bench trial, which opened Monday before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, has stirred memories of the disaster, and testimony from expert witnesses has painted a picture of a company that put profits over safety.
“I do not think the defendants would want to try this case to a jury,” said Dan Jacobs, a former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice who now teaches at American University.