You may have seen reports in the media suggesting that Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier, the trial court judge overseeing the BP Deepwater Horizon civil litigation, has decided that claimants need not provide evidence of spill related losses in order to recover.
Such reports are misleading.
In fact, the Settlement Agreement, authored and signed by BP, requires that most businesses (save for those located directly on the water or in very close proximity to the coast) meet causation tests based on revenue patterns that indicate a spill related loss.
This is as it should be, as only businesses negatively impacted by BP’s spill should receive compensation. It just so happens that the majority of businesses in our area were affected to one degree or another by the economic tsunami that was the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
BP, in seeking court approval of the Settlement Agreement in 2012, told Judge Barbier that such tests were “economically appropriate,” “consistent with economic reality,” “more than reasonable,” “more than fair,” “objective,” “transparent,” “standardized,” and an “efficient” method of establishing causation. In last week’s ruling, (below) Judge Barbier agreed.
Of course, now BP no longer feels such tests are “consistent with economic reality,” et cetera.
The company is seeking to change the tests in ways that would exclude almost all businesses from participating in the Claims Program, no matter how obvious their spill related losses may be.
That is not fair. That is not what was negotiated. That is not what was agreed upon. And according to Judge Barbier, that is not what 1,200 pages of complex formulas say.
While this is a win for our clients and for all claimants, BP has already attacked the Judge’s Order, filing a petition with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals within hours of his ruling.
So the saga continues, but with this battle going to the businesses of the Gulf.