Sunday, April 7, 2013

BP Settlement Fund business loss payouts to continue per Judge

New Orleans U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier denied BP's attempt to halt payments from a settlement fund to reimburse businesses and individuals for losses from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico. The court rejected BP's arguments that the fund administrator misinterpreted claims and miscalculated payments, amounting to fictitious claims. The judge previously upheld interpretation of settlement terms governing payments to businesses affected by the spill. BP sought an injunction blocking making payments to businesses. BP maintains decisions made in claims handling expose the company to losses never contemplated in the settlement. Attorneys who brokered last year's deal with BP say the request was designed to set up an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to review the matter. The oil company filed a notice of appeal and is reportedly evaluating how to proceed following the ruling to preserve rights and prevent so-called meritless awards. Last year, BP estimated it would pay roughly $7.8 billion to resolve tens of thousands of claims by businesses and individuals covered by the settlement. The company now claims it can't give a reliable estimate for the total value of the deal. According to experts, it appears difficult to reopen the settlement at the appellate level because of extensive negotiation and ultimate approval by BP and its legal team. The hearing last Friday took place during a break in the sixth week of the continuing civil trial aimed at determining the degree of culpability that BP and other companies have for the accident. See stories-- and