Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the $9.2 billion partial settlement for claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Despite agreeing to the terms of the settlement agreement in 2011, BP has made multiple attempts to curb payments to eligible claimants. BP argued that the $9.2 billion partial settlement should be completely invalidated because certain individual were inconsistently compensated for the same types of economic injuries. The court disagreed, stating that plaintiffs who meet the requirements for the partial settlement can’t be blocked because of disputes over individual payments.
Describing BP’s argument as nonsensical, U.S. Circuit Judge W. Eugene Davis spoke for the majority, saying “[w]e cannot  conceive of why or how a formula for making voluntary payments under a settlement agreement could threaten the predominance of common questions over individual questions in litigation. Indeed the reason that BP has identified no authority for this proposition is that it is nonsensical.” The Fifth Circuit’s opinion can be found here: Fifth Circuit Opinion Affirming Partial BP Settlement.
The decision by the Fifth Circuit allows the settlement to go forward and is a blow to BP’s attempts to curb payments under the agreement. In the past year, BP has embarked on an intense PR campaign alleging that the settlement process is riddled with fraud and excess. BP has taken full page ads in major newspapers, including the New York Times, and conducted a national TV campaign to discredit the claims process.
In April of 2010, the rupture of a BP well and explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 people and resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in US history.
Recently, in December of 2013, a study published by the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology showed that dolphins in the area of BP’s 2010 oil spill suffered from extreme health problems. The study was conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a year after the spill and concluded the dolphins’ diseased conditions are rare but consistent with oil exposure and toxicity. BP disputed the conclusions.
Also recently, a low-level BP engineer was found guilty of obstruction of justice for deleting text messages during a federal investigation into how much oil leaked.
As a New Orleans maritime law firm, Lambert Zainey handles BP claims on behalf of businesses across the Gulf Coast. Many businesses located in non-coastal areas are eligible to recover financial damages under the BP settlement program. In addition, many businesses that do not deal directly with the Gulf of Mexico are eligible under the BP settlement program.
To determine whether a business has suffered a loss is complex and confusing. Oftentimes, businesses do not realize they have suffered a loss due to the BP Oil Spill until an attorney has analyzed their case. Lambert Zainey works closely with an accounting firm to ensure each potential BP commercial claim is properly analyzed and submitted to the claims program.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a claim or even how to file a potential claim, the BP lawyers of Lambert Zainey will discuss the facts of your situation at no charge. Please contact us here or call us at 504-581-1750 or 800-521-1750.