We received many calls as Deep Water had closed and the final minutes kept ticking down. People were getting kicked out of the Deep Water Horizon on-line system as they entered their data.
I have talked with other Attorneys and Processors today they all were experiencing similar problems.
We have reached out to the Powers that be in this chapter of the BP Settlement and alerted them of the situation, at the same time we were told that we should just keep filing and keep a record of what occurred last night.
We have, and suggest you do to.
The submission of BP Claims that are a day or two behind because of technical issues on their end should be granted a touch of Grace.
Most processors have stopped taking on BP Claims, we haven`t but you have to have all your information together and be ready to expedite it directly over to us.
Our number is 1-800-BP-CLAIM
If you want to call the settlement directly call 1-866-992-6174 or got to DeepWaterHorizonSettlements.com, we encourage that too.
If you would like help processing your claim after the 8th we will be happy to help you, but you need to be filed with Deep Water that is the most important step right now.
The attorneys we work with are available if your claim documentation is in order.
Recently we have seen lots of emails from the heads of the PSC that definitively speak about having the claims that are being entered at this time to be complete, we agree with that, but in speaking with one of our liaisons at Deep Water he wrote us this.
You must submit a completed and signed Claim Form on or before Midnight (Prevailing Central Time) on June 8, 2015. You should submit all required documentation in support of your claim at that time. If the Claims Administrator finds that your claim is incomplete for a Registration Form, or documentation necessary to complete the review of the claim, the Settlement Program will notify you of that determination by email or mail at the address you provided in your Claim Form. That notification letter will provide you with instructions for how to make your claim complete and will provide a specific deadline by which you must respond.
Keep in mind how the time of filing a Claim Form is measured. The Claims Administrator applies these rules:
- Claim Form filed online on a DWH Portal or by email: Timely if submitted online or emailed by midnight Central Prevailing Time on the filing deadline date.
- Claim Form filed in a Claimant Assistance Center: Timely if done in a Claimant Assistance Center before the Center closes on the deadline date. The Claimant Assistance Centers will remain open until midnight prevailing central time (1:00 a.m. eastern time) on June 8, 2015, to accept claim forms and documentation submitted in support of claims. After June 8, 2015, you may continue to visit the Claimant Assistance Centers during normal business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time until June 19, 2015, on which date the centers will permanently close to the public.
- Claim Form filed by U.S. Mail: Timely if postmarked on or before the filing deadline date.
- Claim Form filed by personal delivery: Timely if delivered on or before the filing deadline date.
The key word here being should, so in an effort to accommodate as many of you as possible, if your business claim passes our screening process, we will do everything we can, to get your Business Claims in before the deadline.
We strongly suggest that You ALL check the status of your BP Claims by going here, as many claims were dropped during the stay, many of you were refiled, some with your knowledge, but many with out your knowledge, by the Groups handling your claims.
Many were just dropped.
Read the articles below about The Refiles.
Many of you just don`t know, and the best place to go is the check your status page on the Deep Water Horizon Settlement website.
If you are unsure, contact whoever is processing your claims, I strongly suggest you check there first.
However if you did not opt out, and feel you have a bp claim that is viable, and you have checked you status, you may want to file your claim yourself before the 8th.
These decisions are yours, and I am not an Attorney.
Best of Luck and God`s Speed.
All Economic Claims need to be in June 8th
The phone number for the Deep Water Horizon Settlement is 1-866-992-6174.
The New BP Claims word is REFILE
Has your your claim taken far longer then other people you know? Has an attorney or processor told you that they had to refile your claim, many don`t. As I am writing this I have just received several calls from claimants who after checking their claim status themselves, realized their claims were refiled without their knowledge.
To check your claim click here, you will need your claimant ID and the last four digits of your ein or social security number.
Why did this happen, usually because processors/attorneys did not respond in a timely manner to incomplete notices for your claims. For many BP Claims Processors, processing came to a halt by some, when BP stopped paying claims, the issue here is Deep Water never stopped processing the claims. So if your claim was filed several years ago, you may want to check for yourself, which we highly encourage. Many Processors quite frankly were starved out by BP`s intentional shutdown of payments.
What essentially happens is, your claims if they were refiled send you to the back of the line. If your processors/attorneys/cpa`s were not forthright enough to tell you that your claim has languished for so long by Claims Processors shutting down their processing due to a lack of financial resources, shame on them, but your not stuck with them. Also please keep in mind this is by no means a fast process, and many BP Claims have just simply languished.
You are NOT STUCK with your Claims Preparation Group.
If you are a Claims Preparation Group and that includes Attorneys, that needs help processing your claims call us, we will help you if we can.
We have a large network of very well funded Attorneys and other Processors that can assist you. I know BP starved many processsors out, and as far as I can tell some claims processors are still not seeing many claims paid.
On the other hand I am happy to say through our network and our own internal processing we have seen almost 10 million dollars in paid BP claims in the last coupe of months.
We are seeing lots of appeals, pretty much anything over 250k is getting appealed, but we are seeing them won. It usually tacks on another 3 months to process.
BP Claims News
New Home Builders BP Claims are seeing Better then expected returns, it was thought that 495 was going to impact these claims in a very negative manner but that has not been the case. Home Builders are walking away from the BP Claims process with some staggering amounts.
Deep Water on the processing side, has begun to have lots of issues with processing. We have seen this before around other deadlines, it is no surprise.
Here are some notes from Melody Scott about recent incidents regarding the processing of the claims we handle internally.
This is one of our very recent Internal memos.
Now advising that claims should be filed immediately and warning that the Deep Water system may overload or crash starting next week and this will not be an acceptable excuse for not being able to file a claim in a timely manner.
BP Claims once forgotten are coming back to the table
We have been preaching this from the rooftops for a few posts now, there are many claims that NEVER entered the Deep Water Horizon Settlement from the GCCF. If you recall there were almost a million claims in the GCCF when it transitioned over to the Deep Water Horzion Settlement. When that occurred many people and business`s lost track of the necessary paperwork to transition their claim over, at the same time many never thought they had to do anything at all, and the claim would just naturally progress over there. They didn`t, and in our estimation we think that number is in the 100,000`s.
So over the last week we have been calling people that came in through our websites in 2010 and 2011, and what we are finding is that many people think they are filed but only have the old GCCF claim numbers and you got it, never transitioned over to the Deep Water Horizon Settlement.
Many had Attorneys and Processors that they never heard from again. I have heard one processor that dropped over 900 individual claims, when the transition over to Deep Water occurred.
BP`s playbook from day one has been Delay, Deny, and Defend, throw in a touch of greed and personal agendas by certain processors and attorneys, and the BP Claims process becomes even more muddled.
If you had a claim during the GCCF era and DID NOT take a Quick Pay, or a final offer, your paperwork is still in their database and very easy to revive, but time is clearly running out.
After all of the Damage BP has caused to Families and Businesses along our coast, I urge people to call the Deep Water Horizon Settlement Directly at 1-866-992-6174 and file if you can, or enlist the services of a Processor or Attorney. Have your financials in order and that includes your taxes and monthly pnl`s file your claim yourself if necessary, and preserve your rights, you can always move your claim over to an Attorney or a processor after the June 8th date.
If you need assistance we will be happy to do what we can. We have processors in our Network that handle Individual and Business Claims. We will be processing claims until the deadline, but you need to have your financials in order.
Just call 1-800-272-5246 or 1-800-BP-CLAIM, we are not related to the Deep Water Horizon Settlement, and we only process business claims at this point.
If all or a good part of your paperwork is in the portal, filing or moving a claim is easier then you think. It all depends upon the quality of the data you have given them.
Since 495 has come into play it is actually very advantageous to have the original data that many of you provided to the GCCF or early Deep Water Horizon Settlement. If your financial data is held in accounting software such as Quicken or Quick Books and has been since 2009 or before, or you have an in house bookkeeper or the same CPA, you may be able to get your information in on time, but NOW is the time.
On a personal note I would like to welcome Melody Scott to our Team. She worked at the Command Center during the spill and has been active working with BP Claimants for several years. She has assisted us in getting claims paid that many would have given up on. She has helped the claimants that we work with the last several months and her results have been outstanding. Her para legal experience, and outstanding overall knowledge of this event have made her invaluable to us and our clients.
Melody you are a Blessing and a welcome addition to our Team.
The BP Claims Settlement is Back On and time is running out..
Emails and letters are being sent by the leadership of the Settlement in mass.
However, the deadline to file of June 8 is fast approaching and requires immediate action.
We have found that many claimants have fallen through the cracks when indeed they had a justifiable business claim.
This was either due to mishandling by certain claims professionals or the confusion created by the complicated, and to some, misleading filing process.
If you wish to get professional help to revive and old claim, or move your claim from one processor to another or yourself, all you need to use is an AR1 form. here is a link to one.
If an Attorney/Processor has done their job, expect them to lien the file.
Judge Barbier has not taken kindly to Attorneys/Processors liening files that he found to have little or know time in.
The claimants still have RIGHTS, and need to know what they can do to keep their claims alive.
The mishandling of claims from certain vendors inside the settlement can not be ignored.
In my opinion hiring people unskilled in this process was a huge detriment to the whole settlement, and it is my belief, it intentionally was meant to thwart the whole process, and Pat Juneau and his staff became targets for trying to fix it, and thank God they did to a large degree by bringing in some very good processors and reworking the mess that was handed to them.
To check your claims status go to
https://www2.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/un-secure/Claimantstatus.aspx and have your claim number and the last 4 digits of your social security or ein number for your business available.
How BP Claims got lost in the shuffle
When the claims process was switched from GCCF to Deep Water Horizon, many claimants never fully transferred to the new process. Their information did, but needed forms, that to many looked like junk mail, were thrown in the trash.
Those claims can be brought back to life, your documents are still there.
The amount of people that had filed through the GCCF before transitioning over to the New DeepWater Horizon Settlement was around 1 Million.
The amount of claims ever filed with DeepWater far, far less.
The claim process was then halted during the Deepwater Horizon Settlement by Delay tactics by BP.
New rules like 495 and smoothing and matching tests were added.
What happened in many experts opinions is that 25% or so of what were thought to be solid claims will be ineligible, and will be documented to death.
What also happened was that the connection between the oil spill no longer applied for most Business Economic Loss Claims.
If your Business Claim meets the V Trend model for your zone you could get paid.
You just have to show a loss in 2010 for 90 or more consecutive days versus the same period in 2009, and an upswing for the same 90 or plus days in 2011. These ups and downs that make the V-Trend are different for every zone, and there are exceptions.
If you can also demonstrate you had even better numbers in 2007 and 2008 during those same 90 plus days you can also bring those years into the equation.
The critical dates in determining a loss are from 4/20/10 ( the day of the spill) to 11/31/10. for more on the V Trend go here.
You will need monthly p and l`s and tax records for the years and the time periods you use to substantiate your claim.
At this point in time keeping good records is a must to qualify for the settlement. Many of those records are still sitting in the DeepWater Database and just need to be revived.
If your records are just sitting in limbo we can Help.
There is still time to reactivate these suspended files , we can help.
It has been our experience that so many of these business claims with denied statuses, are still viable. Let us hear from you today if you would like our help.
Don’t leave money on the table for BP that is yours!
Claims are getting paid Now.
Recently our firm assisted in getting a 4 million dollar plus claim paid, we have also helped some smaller businesses see 20k-500k in paid BP Claims very recently.
We process claims, and we have the largest claims processing network in the country.
So if you need help call 1-800-BP-CLAIM or 1-800-272-5246
This post was sponsored by USA Tactical Supplies of Sarasota
DeepWater Horizon Information
DeepWater Horizon Settlement Phone Number…
The Deadline to file for the economic settlement is June 8, 2015
Medical Settlement Deadline
If you feel you are entitled to a BP Medical Claim you must have your Proof of Claim Forms in by February 12, 2015. This is for medical claimants that are seeking compensation for a Specified Physical Condition or participation in the Periodic Medical Consultation Program.
Medical Settlement Hotline 1-877-545-5111
Link to Claim Forms: Click Here
There are a variety of Appeals occurring because of new rules that were adopted, if your BP Claim is substantially smaller then what was calculated or if BP appeals your claim, please fill out the form to the right and we may be able to help you.
BP Business Claims Information and Denied BP Claims
If you were previously denied by the GCCF and you can show a dip in revenue in 2010, you may qualify if your business was or is in the affected area.
Even if you were denied under the DeepWater Horizon Settlement, the adoption of rule 495 may mean your company is now eligible.
We have experts who can assist you in the evaluation and preparation of your BP Claims.
This post was sponsored by Crestview Car Rentals.
BP Claims News by Bill Bohack
BP Claims begin to get Paid
The good news is we are seeing a steady stream of claims begin to get paid this week.
The bad news is, claims calculations and the adoption of rule 495 seem to leave many processors and cpa`s scratching their heads.
We have been told by people inside of the BP Settlement that it took longer then expected because all of the claims had to be recalculated for 495.
BP Claims Appeals are looming.
Lot`s of appeals. If you need to speak to a bp claims appeal attorney please fill out the form to the right.
BP and the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court meets on BP Today?
Supposedly there is a very quiet meeting between the Supreme Court Justices today.
The issue at hand is whether or not they will hear BP`s case. Some suggest the only reason they would hear it is to put a halt to BP`s frivolous appeals agenda. Delay, Deny and Defend, BP we ALL fully understand your agenda.
At this point in time, it still is what it is, an ever changing playing field that is lately tilting in BP`s favor. I know some people on Gravier Street in New Orleans are doing their best, and hopefully this a trickle of the claims we are seeing get paid becomes a deluge but only time will tell.
We have spoken to several processors in the last 24 hours and they have all experienced a spike in claims getting paid.
Let`s hope that continues.
we would like to thank the fine people at Crestview Motors for their continued support.
This week a 1.1 billion settlement with Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. (HESI) was announced by the BP Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation. The HESI settlement is in part to Halliburton’s role in the incident being found criminally negligent; and in a further attempt to make things right for the Gulf Coast, the settlement was approved. Judge Carl A Barbier will oversee the settlement and continues to have an active role in the ongoing Deepwater Horizon Economic Settlement.
While we are not attorneys, we feel it is important to keep all affected claimants informed, and to ensure that they receive all of the information they are entitled to in a timely manner. As always, we continue to be advocates for victims of the BP oil disaster, we have been there since the beginning when the disaster happened in April of 2010.
If you were denied previously, you may still be eligible.
The HESI Settlement includes two classes:
1) Individuals and businesses that are class members in the existing Deepwater Horizon Economic Settlement. We were disappointed to see that businesses and individuals who received “quick pays” in the beginning were excluded. We continue to seek justice for those individuals. Many were unfairly coerced into accepting a settlement that may have solved some economic issues short term; but I have heard from many of those same individuals that the compensation they received was far less than what they should have received. Unfortunately, many of those people who received “quick pays” had to take the payments. The only other option was to lose their businesses or homes. Sadly for many, that happened anyway. We continue to seek justice for those victims.
2) Any “individual” business (including fishermen and charter boat operators), property owner, or governmental entity (excluding both state and federal government) that is proven to have Robins Dry Dock standing under General Maritime Law.
This particular settlement applies to commercial fishermen and charter boat operators that were in business at any time between April 20, 2009 and April 18, 2012; property owners, businesses and local governments that had oil touch their real estate or personal property any time between April 20, 2010 and April 18, 2012; and individuals that fished or hunted in specified areas and depended on their catch for subsistence, barter or trade” (CNBC, September 2, 2014).
Exclusions to the HESI Settlement:
(1) Any New Class Member who timely and properly elects to opt out of the New Class under the procedures established by the Court?.
(2) Defendants in MDL 2179, and individuals who are current employees of HESI, or who were employees of HESI during the Class Period.
(3) The Court, including any sitting judges on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, their law clerks serving during the pendency of MDL 2179, and any immediate family members of any such judge or law clerk.
(4) Governmental Organizations as defined in Section 5.
(5) Any Natural Person or Entity who or that made a claim to the GCCF, was paid, and executed a valid GCCF Release and Covenant Not to Sue, provided, however, that a GCCF Release and Covenant Not to Sue covering only Bodily Injury Claims shall not be the basis for exclusion of a Natural Person.
(6) BP Released Parties and individuals who were employees of BP Released Parties during the Class Period.
(7) Transocean and individuals who were employees of Transocean during the Class Period.
As part of the settlement process, an “Allocation Special Master” will be appointed. They will determine what portion will go to each class. The court will also develop a Distribution Model to determine the best way to distribute funds. We will provide further information as we receive it. For more information regarding the status of your existing claim or to file a new claim, please complete the form on the left hand side so that we can begin setting your claim up soon. We have been processing claims since the beginning of the disaster, and we are committed to seeing our claimants through to the end; ensuring those affected receive the compensation they deserve.
Feel free to contact us if you are unsure of your status or have any questions at 1-800-272-5246.
All claimants can check their status at any time on-line. It is not necessary to go through endless hold times or automated systems; you simply need your claimant ID and Social Security Number (or EIN number). Your attorney or Deepwater Horizon can provide you with that.
-Our clients can call us directly (941-343-8700) or (1-800-BPClaim)
-All other claimants can call DWH at 866-922-6174 to get your claimant ID or to check status
-Once you have your claimant ID #, go to deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com and follow instructions for “check my status”. You will need the last four digits of your EIN number or SS number (depending on what number you are filing with).
We feel it is important that claimants stay informed. Many claimants are frustrated with the amount of paperwork required and for the length of time the claims process takes.
BP has been rallying to gain support to gain a hearing with the Supreme Court in an effort to reduce their obligation to the Gulf Coast. They have supporters you would not expect: A Chamber of Commerce, a Watch Group out of Washington, even Ken Feinberg supported briefs that were written to dissuade the courts from hearing this case.
Mr. Feinberg was the former head of the GCCF. As most of us remember, the GCCF was such an abomination and hurt so many, which is why the Deepwater Horizon Economic Settlement was written in the first place.
The GCCF failed; Feinberg hired cronies who didn’t even know how to process claims! There were briefs written (and supported by these same individuals against the settlement) adding insult to injury for all victims of the spill; those who lost their jobs, homes, and businesses.
We at BPClaims.org continue to go to bat for all claimants. We will not stop until justice is served.
Get the money you deserve, file your BP claim today
Since the recent court rulings, we are now seeing BP claims paying again. About a month after the decision made by the Fifth Circuit Court ordering BP to resume payments, we began to see a regular flow in the way of notices and some payments.
Keep in mind, all claims that were not paid prior to the halt in payments that was ordered in late 2013 have to be recalculated to determine if they are going to be subject to Policy 495 (which involves matching and smoothing financial statements to avoid showing an overstated loss).
If the company has financial statements showing a revenue trend making it subject to 495, the claim will be recalculated according to the new Policy.
This means that an earlier estimate you received may change, and you may have to wait a little longer to receive your claim.
We are now seeing Zone A businesses and individual claims paying at this time.
It appears the focus is on claims from the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2013.
We have also been told that medical claims are now paying out, but only the smaller ones, claims of around $1,300.00.
One of the huge problems we are starting to see is that people may have a claim filed, but they have not heard anything from the claims office or attorney they filed with.
While it is not unusual for a claim to take a couple of years to pay out, not hearing ANYTHING may indicate a problem.
We have discovered that some of the firms have abandoned their clients, and many of those claims have been denied. Some of these clients were never notified.
Don’t worry, it is fixable.
1800BPCLAIM is still filing claims, since there is not an official effective date, there is not an official deadline. After the effective date is set, claims can still be filed for six months past the effective date.
Here are some of the problems we have been seeing with clients from other firms:
– Claimants have incomplete notices that have not been cured
– Claims have been denied without the claimant’s knowledge
– Many claimants discover they have to start over in the claims process
WE CAN HELP. If there is a problem with your claim, it is possible for you to take control of your claim and take a course of action that will enable you to collect the money you are entitled to.
How To Check The Status of Your Claim
You can quickly discover the status of your claim by going to www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com, then go to check my status. You will need you claimant ID and the last four digits of your business or social security number.
You should be able to check your status on-line, or you can call 866-992-6174 to reach Deepwater Horizon directly.
If you find your claim has been dropped due to processor error, call us. We can help. We have never stopped filing and we will continue to file claims until the last BP Claim is filed.
Call Us at 1-800-BP-CLAIMS (1-800-272-5246)
We are based out of Sarasota Florida.
Author Kathy Schulz
BP Business Claims Payments
Ever since BP put a hold on paying claims to businesses, gulf coast businesses that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been patiently waiting for the British Oil Giant to pay up and honor the terms of the Deepwater Economic Settlement Agreement.
Now, after months (years in some cases) of claimants providing documentation to prove their claim is legitimate, the rules have suddenly changed.
It’s just another chapter in the ongoing tug-of-war over who should be paid under the multibillion-dollar settlement for victims of the BP oil spill.
First, BP appealed the issue of causation; stating that businesses should have to prove that their losses were directly caused by the spill.
This became an issue after some “questionable claims” were submitted and unfortunately paid under the current Settlement Agreement which assumes causation based on where a business is located, the industry, and the pattern of revenue.
Admittedly, there were some claims were paid that had nothing to do with the oil spill. Sadly, the legitimate claimants on the gulf coast are suffering for the dishonesty of firms and claimants who submitted bogus claims.
The Greedy Game of BP Claims
It didn’t help that some firms were actually encouraging people to file regardless of how they lost money after the spill; they ruined what could have been a fairly simple process and helped to bring the causation issue under scrutiny.
The original content of the Settlement won out in the end, in early March Judge Leslie H. Southwick ruled that BP was bound by the agreement it had signed and ordered them to pay up NOW. Southwick, who was one of the judges on the smaller panel of the 5th Circuit, ruled 2-1 against BP.
In turn, BP requested an “en banc” review to settle the issue. BP now wants the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear its argument that businesses seeking compensation for oil spill losses should have to prove those losses came from the effects of the spill, and not from some other factor not be allowed under a class settlement.
Just when we thought the issue of causation was nearly put to rest, another issue has come to pass. Proposed Policy 495: Business Economic Loss Claims: Matching of Revenue and Expenses is now official.
Originally, Judge Barbier ruled against BP’s request for this so-called “matching” of expenses to revenues, but he was asked to revisit the issue. On May 6th 2014 the proposed policy became final, leaving gulf coast claimants asking, “what does this mean for my claim”?
First, it means that all claims that have not been paid yet will be “tested” according to Policy 495. Claims that have widely varying revenues and expenses will be affected the most. BP of course agrees with 495 completely, but the plaintiff steering committee feels differently. They argue that 495 changes the method of calculation, and by doing so it changes causation.
BP Claims new tests
When the “matching and smoothing” process is performed on a claim, the revenue changes. When the revenue changes, you have to re-run causation, and that could potentially throw some claimants out of the Settlement.
This policy adds 88 pages to the already voluminous Settlement agreement, and class counsel of the plaintiff argues that this proposal makes the settlement “unrecognizable”.
On the other hand, the passing of Policy 495 means that we could be on the road to resuming payments. Even if the Plaintiff steering committee disagrees with parts of 495, it does resolve the issue of losses potentially being overstated.
While It is possible that payments may be delayed slightly if 495 is appealed, it does appear that Judge Barbier will do whatever is necessary to “get the show on the road” with regard to claimants getting paid.
It seems a compromise has been met; BP may have lost the causation argument, for now, put they did get Policy 495 pushed through. Now we are just waiting on the Fifth Circuit to issue a mandate directing Barbier to lift the injunction.
Unfortunately, even after the changes are implemented claims administrator Juneau may still not be able to resume payments. They may remain on hold while BP pursues a separate appeal at the 5th Circuit – this one involving whether business claimants must prove that their losses actually stemmed from the spill.
It is uncertain at this time how Policy 495 will affect the value of claims but we do feel that the acceptance of this policy will avoid future appellate delays. All we can hope for now is that the Fifth Circuit will come together and issue the mandate to resume payments.
From all that we have seen, we are cautiously optimistic, with the acceptance of 495 we could potentially see payments resume in as soon as 4-6 weeks.
By: Kathy Schulz
BP CLAIMS PAYMENT AS GULF COAST CLAIMANTS WAIT FOR RELIEF, BP EXECUTIVES GET A PAY RAISE.
As Gulf Coast claimants wait to recover BP Claims Payment from the oil spill of 2010, the largest environmental disaster in history, the oil giant adds insult to injury by dramatically increasing the salaries of executives instead of paying the victims of the spill. While many Gulf Coast claimants are still reeling from the effects of the spill, BP continues to be one of the most profitable companies in the world. BP was so profitable in fact that BP CEO Robert Dudley received a pay raise worth triple from his total pay in 2012. Counting salary, bonus, and stock options, Dudley’s compensation was $8.7 million. With his pension included, Dudley cleared $13.2 million. This is a little unsettling, to say the least, for local Gulf Coast companies who are STILL waiting for their BP Claims Payment and still trying to recover from the loss of business, homes, and jobs. BP appealed the settlement for the BP Claims Payment in late 2013, stating that losses were being claimed by companies whose losses did not originate from the spill. Many suspect this is yet another stall tactic to avoid paying claimants, even though BP claims that they are “committed to paying all legitimate claims of real people who suffered real financial losses from the spill.” In December 2013, a judge said BP can’t change the interpretation of its settlement just because it is paying more for losses than it expected. That judge’s ruling was upheld in early March 2014. “The settlement agreement does not require a claimant to submit evidence that the claim arose as a result of the oil spill,” Circuit Judge Leslie Southwick wrote. Because of this, BP will have to stick to its original agreement
Even more unsettling is the amount of money BP is spending on PR, and the way they are trying to “shame and blame” the claimants. “BP remains committed one of the ads reads. “But we will take whatever legal steps necessary to ensure that fraud is not rewarded and claims money goes to claimants who actually deserve it.” So far, the above statement can be translated as “pay no one in order to avoid claimants committing fraud or getting money they don’t deserve.” Sadly, many Gulf Coast residents and business owners would agree with that statement.
As they consider whether or not to appeal again BP Claims Payment, the effects of the 2010 disaster still linger in the Gulf. As of March 3, tar balls are still being collected from Florida beaches nearly four years after the spill. And recent research has found that chemicals in crude oil can be harmful to hearts of developing fish, meaning that any organism that swam near the Deepwater Horizon rig was exposed to cardiac risks. We at BPClaims.org are committed to helping claimants navigate the economic and medical claims process, and most importantly making sure that claimants get the money they are entitled to. After the latest ruling on BP Claims Payment, we are hopeful that some claims will get paid, and we thank the 5th Circuit Court and Judges like Leslie Southwick for forcing BP to “make it right” for the Gulf Coast claimants.
BP Payments Ordered to Resume?
The claimants of the Deepwater Horizon Economic Settlement celebrated a small victory earlier this month when it was decided in a 2:1 vote by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that BP will have to resume payments to victims of the oil spill. Unfortunately, even though Judge Leslie Southwick ordered that BP will have to pay up under the terms of its agreement, many business owners are still waiting to get paid.
Back in December 2013, the 5th Circuit made a ruling that required Judge Barbier to halt payments temporarily in cases where causation was not proven until that particular rule was changed under a stay. That stay, the judges noted, should be “tailored so that those who experienced actual injury traceable to loss from the Deepwater Horizon accident continue to receive recovery, but those who did not do not receive their BP Claims Payment until this case is fully heard and decided through the judicial process, including by any other panel of this court that resolves these issues.” I think it is safe to say that the “stay” didn’t go as planned. I say that because none of the businesses have been able to recover anything since the halt in payments. It seems that BP’s solution to the problem of determining causation is this: Don’t pay anyone! Not one business claim has been paid since the 2013 payment halt. Even companies who received an eligibility notice in late September 2013 are still waiting to receive their money. BP even accepted releases on these claimants, but never issued a BP Claims Payment.
The problems surrounding the causation issue arose late 2013 after allegations were made that some BP Claims Payment were being issued to claimants who did not suffer an economic loss as a result of the oil spill. Admittedly there may be some truth to those allegations; it is not always possible to distinguish if a loss came from the oil spill or just a bad economy. In order to combat that problem, the settlement originally addressed the issue of causation by setting up requirements for a BP Claims Payment. Causation is assumed based on where you live in the economic loss zones, what industry you are in, and the pattern of the company revenue post oil spill. According to the 1,200-page agreement, if a business near the Gulf Coast can show its revenue dropped in 2010 then rebounded in 2011, it qualifies for compensation. The companies are not required to prove a direct link to the spill. According to U.S. Circuit Judge Leslie Southwick in the latest BP ruling in March 2014, proving causation is not the job of the claimant nor is it to be considered a gatekeeping function of the claims administrator. The settlement states specifically that claimants are not required to submit evidence that the claim arose as a result of the oil spill, and even though BP appealed this issue, the 5th Circuit is holding BP’s feet to the fire. BP is going to be forced to uphold the settlement that they helped to create.
Since the halt in every BP Claims Payment, BP has launched a PR campaign designed to show that they have “made it right” in the Gulf so to speak and also to point fingers at Gulf Coast residents, alleging that many of the claims made as a result of losses incurred during the oil spill are fraudulent. BP even took out full-page ads in several national newspapers to prove this point, but that doesn’t help the thousands of claimants who are still waiting for payment, it only serves to frustrate and anger everyone.
The appeal and halt in every BP Claims Payment may have had some unexpected result for BP. In trying to avoid the payments using the “proof of causation” argument, BP may have actually hurt themselves in the doing. In trying to limit the cost of the settlement reached in late 2012, they may have actually increased them when they decided to fight the issue of causation. Back in 2012, BP estimated that the deal would cost the company $7.8 billion. Now, the price tag could reach $9.2 billion or higher. People and businesses making claims still have to attest that their financial losses were caused by the spill, but they do not have to submit actual “proof”. Judge Southwick writes “There is nothing fundamentally unreasonable about what BP accepted but now wishes it had not.”
Now that the issue of causation has been answered once and for all, this opens the door for all claimants claiming a “trickle down” effect loss, which in reality and according to the settlement, is a valid BP Claims Payment claim. I expect to see more claimants now, but I do wonder if they are going to run into problems when they seek help through an attorney or a claims office. BPClaims.org is still accepting clients; we were there in the beginning, and we plan on staying until the end. Unfortunately, many other firms have been forced to stop taking BP Claims because most of them are paid on a contingency basis. The halt in payments have made it impossible for these firms to continue to pay office expenses and salaries associated with processing claims. The December 2013 halt in payments hurt the claimants, is going to cost BP more in the long run, and helped BP succeeded in this: the dramatic reduction of firms that were in business to assist the claimants. That may not have been the intention, but it was one of the end results.
Meanwhile, the deadline for business BP Claims Payment is fast approaching. It was originally set for April 22, two days after the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. It now has been extended to late summer. We at BPClaims.org are still accepting claims, and we are still fighting for our clients. Now that the order to resume payments has passed, we are cautiously optimistic and expect payments to resume for businesses by April 2014 on every BP Claims Payment.
Contact BPCLAIMS.INFO by calling 1-800-272-5246 or 1-800-BPCLAIMS
By: Kathy Schulz