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BP Settlement Intended to Simplify Proof is Under Attack

On behalf of our Florida clients with BP oil spill claims we are pleased about a recent victory, but the fight is still underway. The well known BP oil spill settlement agreement reached in mid-2012 shortly before trial resulted in a settlement claims procedures and formulas that were intended to simplify matters of evidentiary proof — has now resulted in two different appeals with two different results. Although the recent January 10, 2014 appellate decision ruled against BP, they have not yet given up Bloomberg reports.

Two different three judge panels from the same appellate court have now ruled upon BP’s objections to the settlement claims payout process. One panel ruled for BP last month and directed the local trial level judge to modify the procedures to address certain concerns. The second panel, as recently as January 10, 2014 ruled that the settlement agreement was valid and would proceed.

But make no mistake, this January 10, 2014 decision is a huge victory for the plaintiffs seeking economic damages to their businesses as a result of the oil spill. Especially in the Tampa Bay region, where it is difficult to show a direct causal link when oil didn’t slosh up on our doorsteps. But speaking to many of my clients, they are convinced that the tourists stopped coming, and this impact trickled down to all aspects of the economy. Many went out of business entirely because their margins weren’t enough to handle the losses.

With two different opinions: one panel sending the matter back to the trial judge with the instruction that causation parameters must be clearly defined, and this panel essentially saying no you don’t have to do that, it may wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court to break the tie.

So keep tuned, and if you haven’t yet filed a claim, you can still do so until April 22, 2014 – this date may be extended as well. For more information, please contact Christie D. Arkovich, P.A.

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