BP Dodges Another Theft Claim Over Oil Spill Cap
TAMPA, Fla. - BP need not face theft claims from a man whose idea to cap the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon disaster it considered, a federal judge ruled.
The Macondo well exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers who were on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig at the time. Over the next two-and-half months, millions of gallons of oil poured into the surrounding waters.
BP said John Liang's proposal to contain the leak was one of more than 100,000 it received, but Liang said the design it used was "nearly identical" to his submission.
Section 501.972 of Florida law precludes most of the seven counts Liang subsequently filed, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday found Thursday.
The decision relies on precedent from another man, Joseph Kaminski, who lost his lawsuit alleging that BP stole his idea to cap the spill.
"The only precedent considering Section 501.972 holds that an idea to end the BP
Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not 'a work of authorship protected under federal copyright law,'" a footnote to the decision states.
Liang also failed to protect his idea as a trade secret, nor did he show that he relied any misrepresentation from BP, Merryday found.