The Five Most Expensive Trials in U.S History

Going to trial in the United States can be an expensive process. The longer the trail carries on, the larger the bill can get. Some of the most expensive trials in the history of the U.S Court system have blown the one billion dollar mark out of the water. With help from Connor Reporting, we were able to put together a list of some of the most expensive trials in the history of this country.

The McMartin Daycare Trial

Cost: $15 million

At the time of the McMartin Daycare Trial, it was the most expensive trial in the history of the court system. The criminal trial carried on for six years. The owners of the daycare were accused of committing sexual abuse on a number of children that attended their daycare. The daycare center was located in Manhattan Beach, California. The trial was drawn out as the end result was the court ruling to have the charges dropped.

Wildenstein Divorce Settlement

Cost: $2.5 billion

The Wildenstein divorce is one of the largest civil settlements in recent history. Alec Wildenstein was an art collector. He and his former spouse, Jocelyn Wildenstein were able to build a massive fortune that included one of the largest art collections in the world. After the divorce, Jocelyn was awarded $2.5 billion. Additionally, Alec was ordered to pay $100 million annuity over the next 13 years.

Apple or Samsung?

Cost: $40 billion

It all started in 2011 when Apple decided to file a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. This was only the first of a series of lawsuits that Samsung would be served with by Apple. To the victor goes the spoils. Apple was able to win the case as well as a $1 billion dollar payout from Samsung. Other patent infringement cases filed by Apple are ongoing.

BP Oil Spill

Cost: $42 billion

In 2010, BP had oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. One day, the Deepwater Horizon rig began to malfunction. The result was the largest accidental oil spill in the history of the industry. According to the U.S Government, an estimated 4.9 million barrels spewed into the ocean that day. The damage seemed irreversible at the time. The oil spill caused chaos for the marine life in the area as it turned the gulf black. In addition to the immense loss of marine life in this area, BP lost 11 workers in the incident. When the case went to trial, BP was hit with a slew of charges. In 2013, BP was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanor penalties, and a felony for lying to Congress. A civil lawsuit followed this in 2014. BP was ordered to pay $18.7 billion in fines.

Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)

Cost: $206 billion

In November 1998, the Tobaccos MSA took place between Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard. The tobacco companies agreed to reduce spending on marketing and lobbying. In addition, they were ordered to make yearly payments to states that settled. The payments were meant to go towards funding for the American Legacy Foundation (anti-smoking foundation) and the states that settled received a portion of the money to assist those who were suffering from tobacco-related illnesses. The end all be all was a payment of $206 billion that was to be paid in full over the next 25 years.