Two years ago the world looked on in horror as a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico sent 4.9 million barrels of oil spewing into the sea for almost three straight months. BP has since hammered out a $7.8 billion settlement with 125,000 individuals and businesses, and the company is currently seeking final approval of that settlement from the Eastern District Court of Louisiana. The Department of Justice isn't objecting to the overall scope of the deal, but it wants BP to still remain responsible for additional damages. And the DOJ's latest legal filing is scathing:

The DOJ alleges that BP and Transocean Ltd, owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform, made extremely critical errors in the hours leading up to an explosion that set the rig on fire and ultimately sunk it. "That such a simple, yet fundamental and safety-critical test could have been so stunningly, blindingly botched in so many ways, by so many people, demonstrates gross negligence," the government says in a 39-page filing obtained by Reuters. And furthermore:

The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall...

BP did not act alone, by any means, and its gross negligence and willful misconduct are inextricably joined with the acts and omissions of Transocean.

In short, BP has behaved like the Spencer's Gifts of oil companies. Still, the company insists its actions "did not constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct." But an excellent NY Times investigation into the explosion paints a different picture:

Two BP executives and two senior Transocean officials had flown out earlier in the day to praise the crew’s safety performance. But the V.I.P.’s were also there to discuss the Horizon’s crowded schedule. Along with finishing the Macondo, the rig had to complete several repairs before beginning two other high-priority projects for BP. The executives were keen to keep the Horizon on track. In e-mails, BP managers — whose bonuses were heavily based on saving money and beating deadlines — kept asking when the well would be finished...

Mr. Holloway could tell when the BP “company men” got on Mr. Revette’s nerves: he would rub his head a certain way. This had happened a lot on the Macondo job. The Horizon might have been Transocean’s rig, but it was BP’s well, and it was obvious that the guys in the shack felt that the BP men were breathing down their necks. “You could just tell,” Mr. Holloway said.

BP has denied pressuring the Horizon’s crew to cut corners, but its plans for completing the well kept changing, often in ways that saved time but increased risk. “It’s a new deal every time we get up,” Jason Anderson, a 35-year-old toolpusher, complained to his father.

BP hopes to settle with the Justice Department rather than go to trial, but this "indignant" court filing suggests that a settlement is not yet within reach, and BP shares dropped $1.26, or 3 percent, to $40.37 in afternoon trading today. Will BP execs EVER get their lives back?!