In July 2010, a Boise courtroom was the unlikely site of a legal battle surrounding the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in May 2010. Scores of attorneys squeezed into a a courtroom at the Boise federal building, where seven U.S. district Judges, handpicked by the U.S. Supreme Court, would determine the fate of hundreds of federal lawsuits filed in the wake of the disaster, which killed 11 men and spilled untold millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
This morning, the BBC reports that British Petroleum is set to receive a record fine of between $3 billion and $5 billion to settle criminal charges related to the disaster. It would be the biggest criminal penalty in U.S. history.
Additionally, the BBC reports that up to four BP staff may be arrested for their roles in the disaster. Details of the settlement are expected to be confirmed later today by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The previous record for a corporate criminal penalty was $1.2 billion, imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.