REUTERS/Lee CelanoIn an ongoing effort to recover all the cleanup costs from Halliburton, oil giant BP has told a federal judge in New Orleans that the contractor was "grossly negligent" in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.BP and Halliburton sued each other in April 2011 claiming each is to blame for the deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig and resulting disastrous oil leak.Halliburton was in charge of cementing the Macondo well and claims that its contract with BP indemnifies (releases) Halliburton of any legal action resulting from its work as a contractor. In a response filed Sunday, BP asserted that "maritime law prohibits indemnification for gross negligence."As part of that four-page filing, BP reiterated that it was seeking to recover from Halliburton "the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill." BP has estimated in the past that the total cost will be around $42 billion, and by the end of November 2011 the oil company it has paid out or agreed to pay out $21.7 billion to affected individuals, companies and governments around the Gulf.In an e-mail to CNN, Halliburton spokesperson Beverly Stafford said "Halliburton stands firm that we are indemnified by BP against losses resulting from the Macondo incident."BP has settled with a number of other companies involved with the well. Cameron International Corp., the company that made the blowout preventer that failed to close the well head on the sea floor that opened when the Deepwater Horizon sank, agreed to pay BP $250 million in December. BP has also settled with its two minority partners in the oil well lease, Anadarko and Mitsui.BP has not settled with Transocean, the owner of the rig.The lawsuit involving BP and Halliburton is expected to go to court in late February.Filings with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana show there are more than 500 lawsuits and more than 100,000 private individual claimants in that class action suit. As of November 2011 the filings show 340 lawyers from 90 different law firms involved.
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