NEW YORK -- The owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and set off a massive oil spill will try to limit its liability to about $27 million.
A spokesman for Transocean Ltd. says a company petition will cite an 1851 law that says the owner of a sunken vessel is liable only for its value after the accident.
Transocean has said it expects to receive $560 million in insurance money from the loss of the rig.
If successful, the liability limit would cap the amount that Transocean would be forced to pay if it loses any of the numerous lawsuits related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Transocean plans to file its petition in U.S. District Court in Houston.
The move drew an immediate rebuke from Robert Cunningham, a prominent Mobile, Ala., lawyer who has filed several class-action lawsuits against Transocean and the other companies involved in the oil spill.
"Whatever the value of the rig was is a drop in the ocean compared to the devastation and damages which have been and will be caused by the combined negligence and wrongdoing of Transocean, BP, and Halliburton," Cunningham said in a prepared statement.
"It is one thing to talk a good game of public relations on television and at staged public meetings, and quite another to file a lawsuit against innocent victims of this oil spill carnage and haul them into court