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“Chaos, paranoia and insanity” at Deepwater Horizon

The Department of Justice opened trial arguments against BP Monday -- claiming gross negligence and "willful misconduct" over the Gulf oil spill -- with some damning reports.

According to the Guardian, the prosecution told the New Orleans court that "the man in charge of BP's ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig warned his boss that staff were operating in 'chaos, paranoia and insanity' just days before a fatal blowout killed 11 men and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history."

"Not only was it within BP's power to prevent the tragedy, it was its responsibility," said Mike Underhill, a U.S. Justice Department trial attorney.

BP has long denied gross negligence -- and little wonder: as Salon noted Monday, a gross negligence ruling could vastly increase the oil giant’s penalty. However, it is likely that a settlement will be reached outside the court room before a verdict is reached -- BP's bill could be as low as $5 billion or as high as $17.5 billion.

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