Judge: Oil Spill Didn’t Damage BP Fuel Dealers Economically

NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge today tossed claims made by BP branded convenience stores and gas stations that alleged the company’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill diminished the BP brand and cost them business.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled that the fuel dealers’ claims against BP plc aren't viable under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, general maritime law or state law.

Thomas Bleau, a lawyer for the BP dealers, argued during a hearing last month that consumer animosity toward BP following the oil spill tarnished the company's brand name. In addition, Bleau stated that the gas station and c-store owners could not switch the banner under which they operate because they are stuck in long-term contracts with BP.

Judge Barbier, however, ruled today that the BP dealers' allegations "do not state a claim for which relief may be granted." The judge did not rule on whether BP dealers have legitimate claims regarding possible economic losses based on a decline in tourism after the oil spill.

Also, all claims by BP dealers are excluded from the company’s proposed settlement of billions of dollars of claims by other businesses and individuals who blamed the spill for economic damages, the news outlet noted.

A BP spokeswoman declined to comment on the ruling when contacted by the AP.
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