SC business notebook, June 27

June 26, 2013 

BP challenging billions in Gulf oil spill settlements

With an ad blitz and a tersely worded letter, BP is mounting an increasingly aggressive campaign to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses following its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In letters that started going out Tuesday, BP warns lawyers for many Gulf Coast businesses that it may seek to recover at least some of their clients’ shares of the multibillion-dollar settlement if it successfully appeals a key ruling in the legal wrangling spawned by the nation’s worst offshore oil spill. The London-based oil giant says it is sending hundreds of the letters to attorneys for businesses the company believes received excessive payments from the court-supervised settlement program. James Roy and Stephen Herman, two of the lead plaintiffs’ lawyers who helped broker the deal with BP, warned Cantor that his letter “misstates the law and violates BP’s obligations under the Settlement Agreement.”

Paula Deen dropped by Wal-Mart, taken off casino buffets

Paula Deen was dropped by Wal-Mart and her name was stripped from four Caesars Entertainment Corp. buffet restaurants on Wednesday, hours after she went on television and tearfully defended herself amid the mounting fallout over her admission of using a racial slur. The story has become both a day-by-day struggle by a successful businesswoman to keep her career afloat and an object lesson on the level of tolerance and forgiveness in society for being caught making an insensitive remark. Deen’s representatives released letters of support from nine companies that do business with the chef and promised to continue. There’s evidence that a backlash is growing against the Food Network, which tersely announced last Friday that it was cutting ties with one of its stars. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Deen had called him and he agreed to help her, saying she shouldn’t become a sacrificial lamb over the issue of racial intolerance.

Microsoft releases preview version of Windows 8

Microsoft on Wednesday released a preview version of an update to Windows 8, aiming to address some of the gripes people have with the company’s flagship operating system. At a conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that the company pushed hard to get people to adopt a radical new tile-based “Modern” user interface in Windows 8. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to reach and use the older “desktop” interface. Microsoft made the preview of Windows 8.1 available for free as a download.

U.S. fines Delta $750,000 for bumping passengers involuntarily

The government is fining Delta Air Lines Inc. $750,000 for bumping some passengers involuntarily, without offering compensation or seeking volunteers first. Airlines sometimes sell too many tickets for a flight, and have to “bump” some or move them to a later flight. If travelers don’t volunteer, the airline has to compensate them.

The Associated Press contributed.

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