BP Filing Flurry

There have been several legal filings lately regarding the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP wants evidence from the feds. An ex-NASA engineer wants money. And the region’s Asian American population doesn’t want to be discriminated against.

Last week in a filing in U.S. district court in New Orleans, BP accused the federal government of withholding evidence. The company maintains that the government is not releasing more than 10,000 documents that may relate to the spill’s flow rate.

The flow rate is important because it indicates how much oil gushed into the gulf—the federal government pegs the spill at just under 5 million barrels. The spill estimate directly determines the amount of financial penalties BP will eventually be responsible for.

Meanwhile, in Pinellas County, Fla., a retired engineer is charging that BP owes him $2 million for his help in stopping the leaking oil well. Joseph Kaminski is suing the oil company, claiming BP needed his help but never paid him.

Kaminski—who used to work for NASA—apparently contacted BP 21 days into the spill and offered to assist in stopping the leak via designing a smaller pipe with sealing rings into the larger broken pipe. He has charged that BP—which did end up using a pipe-into-pipe concept over the course of the summer of 2010—back-and-forthed with him regarding the design and was fully aware of his $2 million fee.

Kaminski is being represented by Brian Donovan of Tampa.

Back along the northern Gulf Coast, Vietnamese and Cambodian fishing communities are upset about BP and its contractors allegedly discriminating against them during the clean-up efforts following the oil spill. Also filed in New Orleans, the suit lists 41 fishermen as plaintiffs and the defendants as BP, DRC Emergency Services LLC and Danos and Curole Marine Contractors LLC.

The suit claims that BP and its contractors purposefully did not hire from the Asian American fishing community, which apparently constitutes about one-third of the Gulf’s shrimpers. The plaintiffs claim to have email evidence that BP “specifically demanded” that the Asian American fisherman not be hired for work in the company’s Vessels of Opportunity program. The assumed reason for the alleged discrimination is the language barrier.