Oil giant BP is set to take another battering after a US judge ruled thousands of fishermen and business owners hit by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster could sue for punitive damages, it has been reported.
Judge Carl Barbier, who is considering some 500 cases against BP and its main co-defendants Transocean, has said the plaintiffs are allowed to make their cases under maritime law for punitive damages - penalties designed to deter bad conduct, the Sunday Telegraph said.
BP and the other companies had argued that a different law prevented complainants pursuing them in this way.
More than 100,000 individuals, companies and authorities have filed cases claiming they suffered economic loss as a result of the leak last year.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 last year killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore oil spill in history.