E&E News Highlights John Cruden’s Role in Deepwater Horizon Settlement
In an April 17 article titled “How the Gulf spill settlement reshaped environmental law,” E&E News profiled Beveridge & Diamond Principal John Cruden's (Washington, DC) successful leadership in the negotiation of the Deepwater Horizon settlement during his tenure at the Department of Justice (DOJ). President Obama nominated John to be Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) in 2013. In this position, he supervised all federal civil environmental litigation involving agencies of the United States, including personally litigating and leading settlement negotiations in numerous environmental cases, including the historic Deepwater Horizon oil spill matter.
Ten years later, the article describes the enduring legacy of the damages the U.S. government obtained from BP for the oil spill. John, the top attorney in DOJ's environmental division at the time, reported to President Obama in 2016 that the two settlements BP would pay—$20 billion (civil) and $4 billion (criminal)—would be “a legacy item” and “something to be proud of, because it will work.”
Ultimately, the article states, “The Gulf oil spill ushered in the era of multibillion-dollar criminal and civil settlements, which were unheard of before 2010," and "Every company that has engaged in a potentially high-risk activity has been influenced by the enormity of the legal exposure that was displayed in the Deepwater Horizon situation." John’s personal negotiations in the resolution of the oil spill required a great deal of coordination, expert assistance, and sophisticated management of numerous players including officials from the five Gulf states—Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—each of which had Republican governors who frequently clashed with Obama. After three different trials, multiple trips to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, and countless hours of discovery and terabytes of document management, John’s team reached the largest settlement against a single defendant in DOJ history.
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B&D's Litigation practice includes former DOJ and Environmental Protection Agency officials who offer unique perspectives from their years of government service. This includes working with scientific experts, the ability to navigate the administrative enforcement process and manage litigation challenges, and familiarity with regulators and lawmakers, all of which are instrumental tools in overcoming challenges that clients face in lawsuits.