Home > Publications > BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims Investigated by Special Master Freeh: A Case for  Application of Convenience Theory to White-Collar Misconduct

BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims Investigated by Special Master Freeh: A Case for  Application of Convenience Theory to White-Collar Misconduct

Petter Gottschalk1

Abstract
After an oil spill in the Gulf, British Petroleum had to compensate victims of the
accident. The total compensation was $11 billion. As suggested by the theory of
convenience, a financial motive, an organizational opportunity and a personal
willingness can explain deviant behavior by members of the elite in society to gain
from the compensation program. In the case of the BP Deepwater Horizon
settlements, attorneys were both presenting claims on behalf of victims as well as
approving claims on behalf of petroleum company BP. It was a profitable assignment
for attorneys, and some attorneys made it even more profitable for themselves by
kickbacks and by both applying for and approving compensations. As illustrated in
this case study, a report of investigation can serve as an empirical basis for the study
of convenience theory.

Keywords: convenience theory; fraud examination; case study; white-collar crime.