By TONI ELLINGTON
On May 19, 2014, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied rehearing which had been requested by BP PLC to prevent Business Economic Loss claimants from receiving payments from the $9.2 billion Deepwater Horizon settlement without proof that their damages were directly caused by the spill.
BP sought rehearing of a Fifth Circuit decision issued on March 3, 2014, in the consolidated BP cases, wherein the Fifth Circuit ruled that businesses could make claims and recover from the settlement even if they could not trace their losses to the oil spill. The BP Settlement Agreement had been approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in December 2012. The district court ruled that the Settlement Agreement did not require businesses submitting claims for certain business losses to provide evidence of causation. Rather, the 2012 settlement called for treating all claimants in certain zones along the Gulf Coast the same if the claimants could show a loss of income after the spill.
The Settlement Agreement provides, in pertinent part: “If you are a business in Zone A, you are not required to provide any evidence of causation, unless you fall into one of the exceptions agreed to by the parties, and listed in footnote (1).” The exceptions exclude recovery for the following types of businesses: (a) financial institutions; (b) funds, financial trusts, or other financial vehicles; (c) the gaming industry; (d) insurance companies; (e) the oil and gas industry; (f) defense contractors or subcontractors; (g) real estate development; (h) businesses which sold or marketed BP-branded fuel at any time between April 2010, through April 16, 2012. The claimant for a Business Economic Loss certifies by completing the claim form agreed to by the parties that the economic loss was caused by the oil spill. For a map of the zones applicable to BP claims, see www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/maps.php.
Economic loss payments have been on hold while litigation over the Settlement Agreement has been going on. BP announced on May 21, 2014, that it would be seeking a review of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The injunction against payments will likely remain in place while BP’s petition for writ of certiorari is pending.
For further questions or for assistance with your company’s claim, contact Toni Ellington at 504-599-8500.