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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
Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence
This is the third company that has pled guilty to the conditions surrounding the oil spill. Halliburton is the world’s second-largest oil field services company, and will be required to pay a maximum $200,000 fine in relation to this misdemeanor. (Roughly four minutes worth of revenue for the company)
Halliburton voluntarily paid out $55 million dollars to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund to try and gain some clout with the public and clear their name. However, seeing that this is a non-profit organization, it will likely result in a tax write off for the company.
Following the rupture of the Macondo oil well, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig triggered the largest offshore oil spill in history and left 11 dead. The ripple effects of the spill destroyed and devastated the environment and the economy of the Gulf Coast.
The allegations in the case were that during the creation of the Macondo well, Halliburton recommended to BP that it contain 21 centralizers. Centralizers are metal collars that can improve cementing, thus making the well more secure. However, BP chose to use just 6 centralizers. After the blowout, the government probed into the cementing of the well and this is when Halliburton ordered computer simulations showing little difference in using 6 centralizers and 21 centralizers to be destroyed. Government efforts to later locate these simulations were unsuccessful.
The Department of Justice still may pursue criminal charges against individuals involved in destroying evidence, but a spokeswoman for the company does not believe that will be the case.
It is surprising the government would accept a plea for such a minor charge, given the oil spill was one of the worst in history. This ruling is in stark contrast to the Enron market manipulation a decade ago, where destruction of evidence led to multiple felonies including obstruction of justice.
Yet again, more evidence of the US government taking it easy on big corporations. Maybe not so surprising as former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney was responsible for obtaining multiple contracts for the company while holding federal government positions. How can this ruling be impartial? It seems those who are a part of the law sure know how to get around it.
By Author: Brittany Rader
The Court-Supervised Deepwater Horizon Settlement was set forth to compensate businesses and individuals that were financially harmed by the oil spill explosion caused by BP in April of 2010. BP has estimated the costs related to compensating claims to be 7.8 billion dollars; however, there is no cap on the total amount that will be paid out. The total amount of compensation will depend upon the number of qualifying claims that receive an offer. Therefore, the estimated 100,000 claims being filed may end up receiving less than the 7.8 billion dollars that has been set aside, or more.
Is anyone excluded from filing to the Deepwater Horizon Settlement?
There are certain industries that BP has excluded from the Settlement. Those who owned a business in or worked within any of the industries listed below are ineligible to file claims to the Deepwater Horizon Settlement.
- Governmental Organizations
- Real Estate Developers
- Insurance Entities
- Financial Institutions, Funds, Financial Trusts, and other Financial Vehicles
- Oil and Gas Industry Entities
- Entities selling or marketing BP-branded fuel
- Gaming and Casino Entities
- Those who chose to exclude themselves from the Economic Class
- Those that were required to file under the Oil Pollution Act
How can I determine my eligibility to file a claim?
Businesses and Individuals in almost any other industry may be eligible to file a claim providing the physical address of their business or employer from the time of the spill falls within one of the designated “Economic Loss Zones”. These are geographic regions that have been recognized by BP as areas that were either directly or indirectly affected by the spill.
How can I determine my business loss?
After you have determined that your business was located within an Economic Loss Zone, it will be time to take a look at your financials.
All businesses, (except those located in Zone A) will need to prove their damages (causation) by showing a specific percentage of lost revenue, lost variable profit, and loss of potential revenue growth in the selected months of 2010, as compared to the same months in the benchmark period. They will also need to show a specific amount of uptake in those same months in 2011. This revenue pattern is referred to as the V-trend and if the financial documents follow this pattern, the business automatically proves causation.
What documents do I need to provide for a Deepwater Horizon Settlement claim evaluation?
The initial causation test is a complex, formulaic calculation which can quickly determine whether your business qualifies under the settlement, and roughly how much compensation you are eligible to receive. The preliminary test requires the following:
- Business Address
- NAICS code
- Gross Revenue Statements from Jan 2007- Dec 2011 (or a minimum of Jan 2009-Dec 2011)
After this calculation, if it is determined that the claim is valid, additional paperwork will be needed to make the claim complete under the guidelines of the Deepwater Horizon Settlement.
Why Should I Seek the Help of a Deepwater Horizon Settlement Claims Preparer?
The Court-Supervised Settlement Agreement is a 1,300 page document filled with complexities and intricacies that can be confusing and frustrating to those with no experience in this field.
Our team of experts prepares and files claims that have been checked for accuracy and validity. We help the client prepare all necessary documents and ensure the claim is complete before it is filed.
Our financial calculations are preformed either by a CPA, or under the direct supervision of a CPA, to ensure we come as close to the actual compensation amount as possible.
Should there be any discrepancies from the settlement once the claim has been filed, we handle all incompleteness notices, appeals, re-reviews, reconsiderations, or denials in a timely manner.
We fight for our clients and push the claim as far as it can possibly go within the Deepwater Horizon settlement. If the claim cannot proceed any further, and the claimant does not receive a settlement, they owe us nothing.
Time is Limited – Act Now!
If you have your paperwork ready, we can quickly calculate whether or not your business qualifies under the guidelines of the settlement. Time is running low; with the deadline to file all claims being April 22, 2014. The more quickly we can gather the documents, evaluate and file the claim, the more quickly it can be reviewed and paid out through the settlement.
If you’ve ever wondered if you qualify to file a BP Claim and you have the preliminary documents at hand, call us today or fill out the form on this page to speak to claims representative immediately. Help is just a phone call away.
BP Claims Advisers LLC
GCCF Business Claims What Do You Need?
For you to prove your GCCF Business claims to BP you need to have your Business income statement ready to send in for the last 3 years, if you have been in business that long. A backup of any other details that support you claim would be a good idea. The Attorney`s we have connected with have a standard process for each claim, of what needs to be filed, and how the claims form needs to be filled out to maximize your success. Many of the Attorneys have former members of the GCCF on their staff as they know the in`s and out`s better then anyone.
Prepare GCCF Business Claims
When they prepare GCCF business claims form for one of our users it should be for Interim payments (quarterly payments) and not final payment. Why is that you might ask, well we want our users to get as much as possible and get what is right for their claim. If they ask for a final claims payment now and let the client sign off on ever going after BP again many things can happen. What if the oil returns, what if the fishing gets banned again, and what if the tourist don’t return this year. When the paper work goes though they are taking the approach of never closing the door on claims money from BP until you absolutely have to (3 year rule), and even then what if there are still problems from the oil spill, why not keep the option of filing a lawsuit against BP open even after 3 years. Remember the 3 year rule is something BP and GCCF came up with if you have damages after 10 years you can go after BP for those damages as long as you don’t sign away your rights in a final claims payment.
Setting You Up For GCCF Business Claims
If you want to connect with our team with GCCF business claims, and want to protect your small or large company for future losses, then allowing our Dream Team of Attorneys would be the right choice for you, and they will go after interim payments from BP. If you think that this is over and that oil will never return to our beaches, and the tourist will return this year, then by all means take a small payment from BP. If you want to get payments for the long run, and you want to make sure your interests are protected in this oil spill claims circus, then you should join our Dream Team of Attorney’s and fill out the form on our site. We will do our best to make sure your interests are protected by the Attorney’s, that have already served more then 10,000 clients interests with GCCF business Claims
Who Can Fill out GCCF Business Forms
If you have a GCCF business claims or a personal claim against BP for loss of income or profit we will accept your form and forward it to an Attorney. If you have filled out a form with GCCF and your claim was denied you should fill out the form, and let them take a second look at it. If you have filed for emergency claims payment and are now filing for final claims payment you should let the team have a look at the numbers before you sign off on the GCCF paper work and promise to never go after BP again. If you have lost your job or business, or if you have lost rental income because of the BP oil spill you should fill out our form.
We are here to help, and we have already helped 10,000 people. We have helped large business owners, and individuals with keeping GCCF honest and fast, on a promise to not refuse a legitimate claim. We have also helped many people that had their claims denied the first time.
Beyond the immediate directive about how the fund describes itself, Barbier’s decision also opens the door for more changes to how the fund operates, according to experts in mass torts and legal ethics. Specifically, it could lead to the renegotiation or undoing of settled claims, ongoing court intervention in the fund’s operations, and more claimants seeking legal representation. “It’s a significant assertion of oversight, if not control, of the claims process by the judge,” said David Logan, dean of Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island. “There is now a question mark looming over the accuracy of the decisions made up to this point by the (fund) and over how it will work moving forward.”
The unprecedented $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) was set up after a meeting between BP and President Barack Obama last June. The White House said at the time that the claims process would be independent and Obama tapped Feinberg, who ran the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund, to administer it. BP pays $850,000 a month to Feinberg’s Washington, DC, firm, Feinberg Rozen, for his services. Feinberg, who has promoted his claims process as faster and less costly than litigation, has paid out more than 250,000 awards to individuals and businesses worth more than $3.36 billion. Of those, more than 86,000 claimants signed releases saying they will not sue BP or its partners. Until last week’s ruling by Barbier, who is overseeing hundreds of spill-related lawsuits against BP, Feinberg did not answer to any court or government agency.
To be sure, some scholars and practitioners are downplaying the potential impact of Barbier’s order and say the court is unlikely to intervene further in the fund’s operations. In his ruling, Barbier called his own order a “narrowly focused remedy” that “will not unduly burden BP’s, Mr. Feinberg’s and the GCCF’s ability to speak on their own behalf.” But several academics and plaintiffs’ attorneys said that, based on Barbier’s ruling, settlements already made with the fund could be reevaluated. A court could invalidate the agreements or allow them to be renegotiated if claimants can prove there was deception on the part of the fund, said Monroe Freedman, a professor at Hofstra University School of Law and contributor to the Legal Ethics Forum, a popular legal blog.
The court’s opinion makes it clear that Feinberg acted “misleadingly, at best,” by saying he was independent of BP, Freedman said. “As a result, tens of thousands of claimants who were effectively defrauded will have the opportunity to open the settlements they entered into.” In an e-mail, BP said, “We do not believe that there is any basis to undo or challenge the settlements that have been concluded.” Feinberg declined to comment. Kevin Dean, an attorney with the plaintiffs’ firm Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said he has reached out to clients who had accepted settlements and given up the right to sue to inform them of the judge’s ruling.
He said his clients were forced to accept these settlements under financial duress and were not informed of their rights before they signed legal releases. If the court takes no further action in the next 30 to 60 days, Dean said he will confer again with his clients to explore their legal options. “My firm believes that clients were forced financially to take an ill-advised settlement, and that that’s a violation of the Oil Pollution Act.” The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires the responsible party—in this case, BP—to set up a claims fund to compensate victims, but does not specify how the fund should resolve claims and makes no mention of claimants signing legal releases giving up the right to sue.
Now that Barbier has brought the fund under his jurisdiction in the Eastern District of Louisiana, he could rule on whether the fund can ask claimants to sign away their legal rights. And he could appoint a special master to supervise the fund’s oral and written communications, including release forms. In addition, more claimants or would-be claimants could seek legal representation for their dealings with the fund. As of this week, fewer than three per cent of those filing claims had their own lawyers. Plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Becnel, who heads a 21-lawyer firm based in Reserve, Louisiana, said his firm has taken on hundreds of new clients in the days following Barbier’s ruling—most of them looking for help bargaining with the claims fund.
Claimants now understand that the process is adversarial, according to Byron Stier, a professor of mass tort litigation at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. “It’s much more one of haggling and negotiation than of processing paperwork and tendering contracts,” Stier said. “It’s now clear that claimants need counsel to determine if the fund is the right path for them.” Barbier has asked plaintiffs and defence in the consolidated case against BP to submit briefs by today on the claim fund’s compliance with the Oil Pollution Act.
BP Claims Plan Unveiled