“Deepwater” business losses ruling gives Gulf Coast businesses from Texas to Florida an additional six months to file new claims.
The U.S. Supreme Court announcement Monday that it had rejected energy giant BP PLC’s challenge to a class-action settlement of claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in 2010 gives businesses along the Gulf Coast six months to file new claims against BP.
Under the terms of the agreement, virtually every business with a facility, office or store in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and portions of the Gulf Coast of Texas (Galveston, Jefferson, Orange, and Chambers County) and Florida has a potential claim. BP has paid more than $4 billion in claims through the settlement program so far. They had challenged the class action settlement to which they agreed in 2012, claiming it had been administered too loosely and that more than $600 million in illegitimate payments had gone to claimants who weren’t harmed by the spill.
The U.S. District Court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, both in New Orleans, had previously upheld the settlement.
“Many companies could be missing out on filing a claim because they assume they are ineligible due to their location,” said Jim Reed, shareholder with Gray Reed & McGraw. “The settlement covers a larger geographic area than many assume, and uses objective financial data to determine whether the company has been impacted by the oil spill. Anyone doing business in the covered area should at least run the numbers to determine if they have grounds for a legitimate claim.”
Gray, Reed & McGraw and another Houston-based firm, Lubel Voyles, represent a number of Texas-based companies with locations in the affected areas and have evaluated and/or filed claims for Fortune 500 companies, convenience store chains, grocery store chains, fast food chains, retail outlets, manufacturing businesses, and other businesses and individuals.
A consultant on the Gray Reed & McGraw-Lubel Voyles team acted as lead negotiator in the BP settlement signed in 2012.