DeepWater Horizon Settlement Fund Issues..lets fix them
The BP Settlement Fund has Issues, Real Issues
What in the beginning seemed to be a mechanism that would actually get all the people paid, that deserved to be paid, has abruptly turned out to have some very serious deficiencies. Are these deficiencies by design, or are they just inherent flaws. It would seem to most of the experts that I have talked to over the last week they are by design, and are hidden in the complex, over 1000 page document known as the BP Settlement Agreement.
What Happened to a Fair BP Settlement Agreement
For many of you that jump through all of the hoops, get in all your paper work, all the monthly p n l`s, dot your i`s and cross your t`s, odds are you will find one last obstacle, The Customer Mix Test. Instead of raising false hopes, and going through the process, the first thing they should have asked Businesses for was The Test.
If you don`t have records of where your clients came from and how much they spent, and can`t show a drop that the Settlement Fund requires, your dead in the water. This is the last test they will throw at you, just when you think you are about to get paid, if your a business, and specifically in Zone D, this could be the nail in your coffin, for most of you. We are attempting to work around this issue.
NAICS Code Issues
If your company is based in a tourist Area, and can show a steady stream of clients, with significant drops in and out of season, and in 2010 versus 2009, but does not have the proper NAICS code, and can not show records and logs, you will not see the standard tourism RTP or Multiplier, but you will be left scratching your head, when you receive an offer substantially less then what you thought you were owed. We have been told that The Settlement is working on these issues.
We are hearing from Attorneys and Processors everyday that they are seriously bewildered to what they saw as the Goodwill of the Settlement Fund in the beginning get perverted. New rules seem to be applied everyday, the real issue here is those rules were in the document from the beginning, they were just not enforced when the first wave of payments came out. Now we are seeing rules and tests be applied that were never used in the initial first wave of payments at a more frequent rate.
BP is saving money and it is costing the People Billions.
Word on the Street
Now I am not saying this is true or not, I am not a lawyer, but this is the way it was layed out for me, and I have to say it makes a lot of sense.
If you recall The DeepWater Horizon Settlement had dragged its feet making payments on a large scale for some time. It was not until after the Opt Out Date did we finally see some payments to the Claimants. Actually many of the offers had been made to the Claimants before the Opt Out Date and finally delivered to them after the Opt Out Date. Many Industry Experts felt pretty good about the Settlement at that point.
Therefore many Attorneys advised their clients to stay in the BP Settlement, what we never had was a good sample set of Claimants of all different types and Zones going through the BP Settlement. Yet many believed the first wave was a good sign of things to come. The second wave would prove far different.
The Right way would have been to let people evaluate what they received as a Settlement, and then let them decide whether or not they chose to accept the Settlement figure, or then decide to litigate.
What people would eventually find out is that, there were a number of traps lying in wait. The Attorneys and the general public would not find out about many of these until much later, why because the Settlement had been stalled, so by the time the Opt Out Date had come and gone, then and only then would the trap be sprung. It always seemed odd to me that the Opt In date would be further extended, but the Opt Out Date would not.
That trap is called the Customer Mix Test. It is almost impossible to pass the Customer Mix Test for most Businesses.
Many Attorneys supposedly in the KNOW, firmly believe that the Plaintiff Steering Committee is too close to BP. They further believe the Administrators of the Fund have their hands tied, because all they can do is administer the fund under the Judges supervision, and the Judge is basically bound by The Settlement. The administrators need to have more autonomy For him to make changes, he would have to get BP and the PSC together to do so, and to agree to the changes.
Now I don`t know if these Attorneys are wrong or right, all I know, is that there are real issues here, and I would be remiss if I did not point them out. I also believe that the Judge, the Administrators, PSC members and yes even BP are all trying to reach common ground, my big point here is don`t B.S. us while trying to reach it, give us the facts, be upfront, and if needed be flexible.
The Judge has still not Signed off on the BP Settlement
The only silver lining right now is that Judge Barbier has still not signed off on the BP Settlement, it is expected that he will very shortly, with no substantive changes. There is still hope for many of the claimants that have fallen into this trap, but it is fading fast.
What many fail to realize is that the PSC was in negotiations with BP for a long time, during that process there is a lot of give and take, and in the end they crafted what we know today as the BP Settlement. It must be looked at as a mechanism that does the most good for most of the people and businesses, that were the most affected. However the tactics, and the way they were deployed, are questionable at best.
The issues are that there were serious mechanisms/tests that were not put in play. The general public and the Attorneys were led astray, because they never saw a TRUE SAMPLE SET of claims, and that did not happen UNTIL AFTER THE OPT OUT DATE, and that is just not FAIR to the 1000`s perhaps 10,000`s more that would have most likely been advised or chosen to opt out.
Many wonder why these issues, and others, especially the plight of the sick people injured by Corexit have not been brought into the Public Eye more, it is thought by many it is because BP has spent so much in advertising in our local medias, buying tv, radio, and print, all in the hope of staving off the truth. The truth will come out sooner or later, it always does.
Now let me say this, we have found the fund for the most part, great to work with, we have gotten many claims paid, but there are issues, and they need to be addressed, sooner then latter.
What are we doing about it
We at BPClaims.org will continue to make people aware of the pitfalls of the Settlement, and the over all Landscape of the whole process including OPA, and upcoming BP Litigation.
We will continue to create strategic alliances to fix the issues that we see coming down the road, hopefully before they are issues.
We will continue to fight vigorously for the people, and the businesses hurt by the BP Oil Spill, on all fronts.
We will Expand our Network of BP Claims Professionals, which is the already the largest in the Country.
We will and Do get People Paid what they rightfully Deserve.
We will innovate and create workarounds for things such as The Customer Mix Test, and share them with other Professionals that are fighting the Good Fight for the People.
We will continue to handle most Claims at 15%.
Why, simply because for Us this was always about Helping People, and not about Chasing Dollars.
God Bless and Be Well.