This article originally appeared on RealMoney.com on Sept. 4, 2014 at 2:40 p.m. To read more content like this AND see inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE... Click Here NOW.
BP (BP) was found grossly negligent today for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a surprising result, and it will continue to hang over the company, at least until the amount of the fines BP will have to pay under the Clean Water Act are finally determined. This makes the stock -- again -- impossible to own.
But this isn't a column about BP -- it's a column about corporate responsibility in the oil patch and what companies can expect, even when they have done their utmost to atone for an admitted negligent mistake.
And the message being sent is anything but good.
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The Deepwater Horizon blowout was the largest oil spill in U.S. history, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf, costing 11 lives and disrupting the livelihoods of hundreds of businesses along the Gulf coast. During the 87 days following the disaster as oil and gas spewed, the horror and uncertainty made the event the most seminal in offshore exploration disasters, bringing about a new wave of regulations and fear of deepwater drilling and its inherent risks.