It will take many more years, perhaps even decades, before consumers in Arizona, across America, and around the entire globe forgive and (perhaps more importantly) forget the environmental, economic, and public relations disaster that was the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP, the company responsible both for the initial accident and its haphazard recovery, has been besieged with lawsuits and charges from both individual citizens and governmental authorities. In what has become a maelstrom of business litigation, the company recently reached a sizeable settlement to avoid criminal charges, and still faces an upcoming civil suit.
The above criminal charges, which included numerous counts of manslaughter on account of those killed in the 2010 explosion, were settled for $4 billion in November. Late in February, however, legal proceedings will continue as BP works to defend itself from civil charges, some of them lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice itself. A settlement in the civil case is anticipated by some to be twice the size of the November payout.
While hefty regulatory fines and penalties have had a marked impact on both the petroleum giant's image and bottom line, it appears the legal battles of the company have been met with simultaneous marketplace stumbling. New numbers released by the company show a fourth quarter 2012 income that was down 20 percent from the same period in 2011. The company also recorded just over $4 billion in decreased profits for the 2012 year compared to 2011.
Often times a legal battle for a business, no matter the size, can snowball into a legal, commercial, financial, and public image disaster from which it may be impossible to recover. For companies who find themselves in hot litigation water, contacting an experienced business attorney can help clear a path to future stability and renewed marketplace success.
Source: Forbes, "As Profits Sag, BP Girds For The 'Trial Of The Year,'" Christopher Helman, Feb. 05, 2013