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BP: Opt Outs Will Not Scuttle Deal

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At the Fairness Hearing today in front of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, lead attorney for BP, Rick Godfrey, announced that BP would not exercise its right to reject the settlement agreement based on the number of claimants who have decided to opt out. For several months now, some settlement skeptics have been concerned that BP could scuttle the deal if too many potential claimants decided to reject the terms of the settlement by opting out of the agreement.

In an unusual move made months ago, BP filed a confidential document with the court that specified a secret opt out threshold, that if crossed, gave the oil giant the right to terminate the settlement payment process. Typically such trigger percentages are known publicly. In this case, only BP and the court knew of the exact percentage of opt outs that could lead to the demise of the historic settlement program. For many observers, a deal that seemed too good to be true may be just that if too many class members decided to opt out.

BP's Godfrey put an end to any such negative speculation this morning. "I have an announcement to make. BP would like to inform the court that we will not exercise the trigger provision." While the ramifications of the announcement were lost on most of those in courtroom, savvy observers breathed a sigh of relief.

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  1. Peter Egan says:
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    Is it just me or does the very fact that the hearing has been dubbed a “fairness” hearing indicate an overwhelming likelihood that in reality it will be anything but (at least as far as those impacted by the spill go)?

    Or perhaps am I just a tad too cynical?

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