Monday, November 4, arguments were made by BP to the Federal Appeals Court regarding last year’s initial approval of the Deepwater Horizon Settlement. The BP Settlement was put in place to compensate businesses and individuals along the Gulf Coast who took economic losses in relation to the oil spill.
What does the BP Settlement want to accomplish?
BP is trying to renege on the terms they originally agreed to, which would therefore put a total end to the settlement. This appeal is separate from a ruling made last month that is forcing BP and the Plaintiff Steering Committee to create new guidelines for the financial calculations of certain BP Settlement Business Claims. BP made this appeal because they believe that if the new calculation guidelines are not in their favor, the entire settlement should be thrown out.
The Arguments in Court
BP continues to claim that the current settlement terms are being misinterpreted by Judge Barbier and the Claims Administrator, Patrick Juneau. The Plaintiff Steering Committee, however, states that BP simply underestimated the actual costs of the settlement and the amount of claimants that would be eligible to file claims.
The judges handling the appeal gave no time frame on how soon they would issue a ruling. However, a lawyer for BP did mention that the judges may want to wait to make a decision until the new business claim calculations are agreed upon.
The Truth about the BP Settlement
Have there been claims that have been paid that did not deserve it? It is a possibility. The way the BP Settlement is set up, businesses need only exhibit a certain revenue pattern to prove their eligibility to receive compensation. Technically, a business that made more money in 2010 than in any other year could be eligible to receive compensation.
BP continues to claim there have been numerous fraudulent claims that have been filed. The way the settlement was set up may allow some claims to qualify even if their loss was not spill related. However, if the claims display the correct revenue pattern and are located within a designated economic loss zone, they qualify and there is nothing fraudulent about that. BP agreed to the initial terms and should have foreseen and properly estimated the true cost of the settlement.
We do not think it is fair for businesses that were not truly affected by the spill to receive compensation. Is it fair that businesses who actually made more money in 2010 have received settlements? We don’t think so. Should the calculation terms be re-reviewed? We think so, but we also think that the entire settlement should not be thrown out. The Deepwater Horizon Settlement is a major advancement to its predecessor The Gulf Coast Claims Facility. The parameters of the GCCF’s payouts were highly questionable, while the Deepwater Horizon Settlement guidelines are crystal clear.
What is the best option for all parties involved?
The Entire Deepwater Horizon Settlement should not come to an end. BP should be able to alter the business claim calculations to create more reasonable offers to claimants. There are still many eligible, legitimate claims that have yet to be paid. Completely abolishing the settlement makes it a lose-lose situation for everyone. We have faith that the courts will keep the settlement in place and correct the business calculation parameters to reach a happy medium between BP and the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee.
As always we are here to help you, the people of the Gulf. At the moment the future of business claims is up in the air until rulings are made in court. Most Individual, VoO and Seafood Compensation claims continue to move forward, while the processing of business claims has come to a temporary halt. We process claims for Attorney’s throughout the country and can help you receive the BP settlement you deserve. Call today if you would like to begin a claim or have questions on a claim you already have pending. We will do whatever we can to help. Check back frequently for the most recent news on the BP Settlement.
Written by: Britt Rader