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BP settles last lawsuit over deaths in blast

GALVESTON, Texas — Eva Rowe, 22, slowly wiped away tears as her attorney talked about how the settlement of a lawsuit against BP PLC for her parents’ deaths in last year’s deadly Texas City refinery explosion would bring her closure.

The civil lawsuit was concluded on Thursday as parties from both sides announced the settlement just before jury selection was to begin. It was the last of the lawsuits involving fatalities that had not been resolved out of court.

Rowe had previously pledged to take her case to trial to shed light on what caused the March 2005 blast that killed 15 people, including her parents, 48-year-old James Rowe and his wife, Linda Rowe, 47, of Hornbeck, La., and injured more than 170 others.

The settlement awarded an undisclosed amount to Rowe. It also called for London-based BP to continue to release documents related to the case and to donate millions of dollars to schools and medical facilities, including one where victims were treated after the explosion.

The donations, which could total $38 million, include $1 million for the school system in Hornbeck, where Linda Rowe was a teacher’s aide. The adult burn unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which treated 23 victims of the blast, will get $12.5 million.

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