Articles Posted in BP Oil Spill Claims

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The absolute deadline for filing BP oil spill claims is June 8. Now that we see BP paying on these claims again, we don’t want anyone to miss this deadline. Remember the trickle down effect applies to most businesses in the affected counties. We help those located around Tampa Bay. Arkovich Law

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bp.bmpI have great news to report on our BP claims! We now have five claims being paid out in the last month alone! These of course have been pending all through the appeals process so it’s been a long wait.

The absolute deadline for filing a new claim is June 8, 2015. it’s not too late and we, like many firms, are accepting new claims for this last month. If we’ve spoken with you in the past but you hadn’t gotten all the paperwork to us to file a claim, it’s not too late, but you need to call us immediately.

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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.

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gulf-spill-map-350.jpgJust as our Tampa Bay, Florida BP oil spill claims are heading toward the finish line, the rules are changing. We believe the new narrower guidelines will likely have a larger impact on our Florida based claims due to the increased distance from the oil spill than states such as Louisiana. Like many of our Florida counterparts, our law firm began filing claims early in the year. Because of the volume of claims received in the Spring of 2013, the estimated payout time increased from what was 60-90 days to 6-9 months. Now lossess will be re-evaluated under the new rules as a result of last week’s hearing.

We just started receiving payout notices on our first round of claims. Now I expect there to be a further delay due to a ruling in BP’s favor on an appeal of the claims administrator’s interpretation of certain key words such as “revenue” and “earnings”. It is expected to narrow the definition to exclude what is broadly called “illegitimate” claims. The problem is what determines an “illegitimate” claim versus one that the client appears to have had signiticant business losses during the relevant time period but cannot prove the exact cause of the loss.

Last week a New York Times article explained that a federal appellate court entered an injunction to delay existing and new claims and may even award refunds to BP for previous claims paid out that cannot show a causal link to the oil spill. The ruling directs the lower court to tailor make a narrow injuction to address these changes. For those who have recently received checks, you might want to consider holding onto the money until some more information is revealed about any clawback effect of the refund language.

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bp.bmpYou are going to hear a lot more about businesses filing BP oil spill claims in the next few months. On December 22, 2012, Bloomberg reported that the BP Gulf Oil Spill Settlement for 7.8 billion dollars was approved. This settlement was reached only two days before a trial was scheduled in March 2012. Preliminary approval was obtained over the summer and preliminary new claims filing rules went into effect.

However, litigation and judges can be fickle so no one knew for certain what was going to happen, but now we have a final order.

Some of the key factors of this settlement are:

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trickle down.jpgMost Floridians don’t believe me when I tell them that their business is likely eligible under the new rules under the BP Oil Spill Settlement. They think their business simply wasn’t affected by the oil spill.

However, you don’t have to prove that oil sludge washed up on your doorstep or that you swallowed a toxic fish. Because it is so difficult to prove the exact cause of economic damages, the “causation” requirement was completely eliminated in June 2012. Now businesses are qualifying when previously they were being denied.

Think of it this way, how many tourism dollars does your county bring in? Those tourism dollars filter through society and affect all types of businesses. From restaurants, hotels, t-shirt shops and amusement parks, to their employees or other supportive businesses. This trickle down effect includes even dentists, doctors, attorneys, chiropractors and virtually all tradespeople. Realtors, builders, architects, the list is never ending.

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