- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday ruled a lawsuit that accuses BP of trespassing on land owned by Regions Bank after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill could go forward.

Justices said in an opinion that a Baldwin County judge erred in dismissing the bank’s 2010 lawsuit against BP because a provision of a 2012 class-action settlement agreement excluded financial institutions.

Regions Bank officials said BP occupied its Gulf Coast property without permission in April 2010 while responding to the oil spill.

BP erected fences and barriers, brought in large equipment and stored hazardous waste on the property, which caused damage, Regions Bank officials said in their complaint. Crews left the property in June, and bank officials said hazardous waste and other materials had been left behind.

The bank’s complaint sought a jury trial, compensatory damages, remediation damages and punitive damages.

BP officials said the company sought a settlement agreement to avoid facing litigation in multiple courts and the bank’s complaint should be dismissed because it didn’t opt out of the class-action settlement.

Although language in the settlement agreement excluded financial institutions, BP officials said they were permitted to file damage claims for coastal and wetlands real property.

However, justices said, another part of the agreement excluded financial institutions from the settlement class and was written in a way to override provisions in another part of the agreement.

Calls to BP and its attorneys weren’t immediately returned.

Baldwin County court records say a status hearing is set for March 14.

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