Lawyers Mass for Assault on BP Firms involved in spill will be in court for decades By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted May 17, 2010 1:22 AM CDT 3 comments Comments The Deepwater Horizon oil platform blazes last month following a massive explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo, File) (Newser) – The Deepwater Horizon rig was ablaze for less than 24 hours when the first lawsuit on behalf of a dead worker's widow was filed—marking the start of a flood of legal action that will match the gush of oil spilling into the Gulf, say experts. Damages are far reaching and the defendants are wealthy. BP is one of the 5 largest publicly held companies in the world, and Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron are not far behind. Nonetheless, the suits will not be easy: "Oil companies are the meanest, nastiest defendants in the country," New Orleans toxic tort lawyer Stuart Smith tells the Washington Post. "They just don't care; they have so much money." BP finally began to have some success with cleanup efforts after engineers captured some of the oil using a mile-long pipe as a siphon, the New York Times reports. But the pipe has since dislodged.