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BP Settlement: Judge rejects BP effort to reinterpret BP settlement | Updated

BP claims must be paid per settlement agreement, Judge rules

BP’s secret maneuvers to avoid paying valid BP claims have failed, according to an exclusive article tonight from WWL TV in New Orleans.

WWL first broke the story just days ago, telling of BP’s efforts to avoid paying BP claims to people in the construction, farming and professional service businesses.

BP settlement had “unofficial stay,” according to WWL. TV

WWL has previously reported that BP filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barboer  to order the BP claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, to stop paying claims to accountants, farmers, lawyers and construction companies. BP argued that such businesses have “fluctuating profits” during the year, so they should not get BP claims paid using the same formula that applies to other businesses in the BP settlement.

BP settlement administrator stopped paying certain BP claims without Court approval

Judge Barbier denied BP’s motion on January 30, 2013, and BP moved to reconsider the motion. While the motion to reconsider was pending, Patrick Juneau, the BP claims administrator, stopped paying the claims filed by farmers, construction companies and other..

Juneau’s suspension of BP claim payments was not approved by the court, and was not documented anywhere in the court record. WWL TV was able to uncover the story by obtaining emails.

BP made no objection to such claims before the BP settlement was submitted to the Court. But when large numbers of BP claims began to be filed by those types of businesses, BP began looking for a way to limit BP claims payments tot those businesses.

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Judge denies BP claims asserted in its motion

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled against BP on January 30, 2013. BP followed up with a motion to reconsider the ruling. And even though Judge Barbier did not authorize the administrator, Juneaue, to stop paying BP claims, Juneau made a decision on his own to stop paying claims of accountants, farmers, lawyers and construction companies.

Juneau stopped paying these categories of BP claims even though the judge did not authorize Juneau to suspend BP claims for any businesses.

Perhaps the most unseemly thing about the affair was that none of these facts appear in the court record. WWL TV’s investigative journalism reported February 28, 2014, that “BP’s challenges and the judge’s rulings have all been done over email, and not in the open court record.”

In its most recent article, WWL reported:

A federal judge has made a final ruling against BP denying its request to change the way certain business loss claims are handled in its multibillion-dollar settlement with private victims of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

WWL’s latest article reported:

BP tried to argue that because these industries have fluctuating profits at different times of year, they could show big losses from certain months in 2007, 2008, and 2009 as compared with the same months of 2010, even if they earned big profits in other parts of 2010. The company tried to say that these industries have “comparable” business in different months from one year to the next, and therefore those are the months that should be used to calculate loss.

But Barbier pointed out emails by BP’s own lawyer, Rick Godfrey, in which Godfrey explicitly agreed that the same months should be used to compare revenues before 2010 to revenues in the year of the spill.

Barbier made it clear that these types of claims should get the same calculation formulas as all the others. The ruling means these types of claims now must be paid the same way Juneau had been paying them — and without implementing any new tests to determine if fluctuating profits were really due to the spill or driven by some other economic conditions. (emphasis added)BP tried to argue that because these industries have fluctuating profits at different times of year, they could show big losses from certain months in 2007, 2008, and 2009 as compared with the same months of 2010, even if they earned big profits in other parts of 2010. The company tried to say that these industries have “comparable” business in different months from one year to the next, and therefore those are the months that should be used to calculate loss.

But Barbier pointed out emails by BP’s own lawyer, Rick Godfrey, in which Godfrey explicitly agreed that the same months should be used to compare revenues before 2010 to revenues in the year of the spill.

Barbier made it clear that these types of claims should get the same calculation formulas as all the others. The ruling means these types of claims now must be paid the same way Juneau had been paying them — and without implementing any new tests to determine if fluctuating profits were really due to the spill or driven by some other economic conditions.

BP settlement bottom line: what, if anything, does this mean for my business?

It means a lot if you are an accountant, farmer, lawyer or construction company owner. The BP settlement was set up so that no business would have to offer direct proof that its business was hurt by the BP oil spill.

Instead, the settlement set up “Zones” for paying businesses. When you move a few miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, you find that the rest of the state of Alabama, all the way to the Tennessee line, is in a zone. The zone also extends down the western coast of Florida to Key West.

Here is the effect of Judge Barbier’s ruling: ANY business in ANY industry (including accountants, lawyers, farmers and construction companies) may be entitled to a large BP claim payment simply by showing a gross revenue decrease during 3 consecutive months during a certain period in 2010 (during the oil spill) and then showing a 10% uptick during the same 3 month period in 2011.

In other words, your business may be entitled to a substantial payment from the BP settlement even without proof that BP caused your decreased revenues.

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Alabama Businesses, Owed Millions From BP Settlement, Face New BP Efforts to Deny Or Delay BP Claims. “Reprehensible conduct.” (Our opinion)

BP Settlement – New BP Oil Spill Class Action Filings Try to Delay and Deny Valid BP claims

(Opinion post by Michael J. Evans, publisher of BPOilnews.com)

So, BP signed a Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement agreement last fall to avoid having to let a Louisiana jury decide how much damage had been caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. At the time of the BP settlement, BP said it was ready to pay any business in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and much of Florida if that business lost money during the BP oil spill in 2010. without the business having to prove that the BP oil spill caused the businesses losses. BP agreed to pay businesses even if the businesses couldn’t prove that the oil spill caused their lost profit. BP and its lawyers new that the BP oil spill devastated the economies of the Gulf Coast states, and harmed businesses that were hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast, even if those businesses couldn’t prove it.

To avoid a public trial with proof of its negligently caused oil spill, BP and its legion of lawyers signed off on a settlement agreement that allows the use of a revenue formula to pay any business in Alabama which meets certain requirements, primarily involving lower revenues for at least 3 months during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (May-December 2010)

But  as soon as the ink dried on the court order approving the BP oil spill settlement last December, BP began filing frivolous motions that basically asked the Court to rewrite the BP settlement agreement so BP could avoid paying valid claims.

Even though BP has already lost its arguments twice, it’s now recycling the same arguments, this time with more publicity. It’s just an effort to deter and delay the filing of valid business claims in the BP settlement approved by New Orleans federal judge Carl Barbier last December. The latest court filing by BP are a continuation of BP’s efforts to put its own bottom line ahead of the economic well-being of the businesses in the Gulf Coast states.

BP Settlement Includes All Alabama Businesses, Located Anywhere in the State, Even If The Business Doesn’t Have Direct Proof That Lost Revenues in 2010 Were Caused by the BP Oil Spill

All businesses in the state of Alabama were included as class members in the BP settlement agreement signed by BP last fall. (Full disclosure, I represent businesses across Alabama that are filing BP claims. I also publish this blog, which began covering the BP oil spill disaster in May 2010.)

BP Settlement Claims – Free Legal Evaluation – Click here

The BP settlement agreement said that any business, located anywhere in Alabama, could collect settlement payments if they met certain qualifications (primarily involving lower business revenues in 2010). The settlement also said businesses could collect on BP claims without having to file a BP lawsuit. But BP has been tying up the judicial system with frivolous court filings trying to delay or avoid paying valid business claims from the BP settlement.

Many businesses have been waiting on BP settlement checks for almost 3 years.

BP first made its arguments in a motion filed in the class action lawsuit in federal court in New Orleans. The judge denied the motion. BP then filed a motion to reconsider the ruling, but it was denied.

Then, on March 15, BP recycled the arguments into a new lawsuit filed in federal court in New Orleans. Although BP;s lawsuit is based on the same frivolous arguments, BP has shown throughout the entire BP oil spill disaster that it will delay paying what it owes for as long as it can.

BP has complete disdain for the businesses and residents of the Gulf Coast states. BP may be willing to pay lawyers to file motions and lawsuits to delay payments, but ultimately the day of reckoning for BP will come.

I’m still accepting new Alabama business clients with BP claims. Alabama businesses can get a free legal evaluation of BP Settlement Claims by filling out the free BP Claims Evaluation Form at BPOilNews.com.

BP Settlement Filings Condemned by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

According to a March 21, 2013 article on Al.com, Alabama Attorney General has condemned BP’s recent court filings seeking to deny or delay BP claims. The Al.com article states:

Strange said BP agreed to the terms of Juneau’s settlement process in a court document signed by the company in February 2012.

“A legion of BP attorneys wrote and negotiated the terms of that agreement,” Strange said. “But now, BP is objecting to the terms of the agreement it signed.”

Strange said the challenge “is consistent with BP’s past behavior.”

“At the same time BP lauds its efforts for restoring the Gulf in the media, it blames others in court for its own mistakes to avoid responsibility for its own conduct,” he said.

“As usual, BP is wrong. If BP underestimated the amount of damage it inflicted upon the Gulf, that is BP’s problem—not the victims’. BP cannot undo a settlement it wrote and signed, just to avoid its consequences. The courts should not allow it.”

Luther Strange should be commended for his strong stance in favor of the BP settlement and the ability of Alabama businesses to collect BP claims as provided in the Deepwater Horizon settlement agreement.

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BP settlement revisited: BP recycles arguments, calling BP claims”absurd”

BP claims filed by businesses in Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement are again in dispute as BP seeks court order requiring BP settlement administrator to stop paying certain claims

According to a Bloomberg report and several other news outlets, BP has filed new papers seeking to avoid paying many BP claims. The papers were filed on March 15, 2013, in New Orleans federal cort against Deepwater Horizon settlement administrator Patrick Juneau. BP is asking the court to stop  Juneau from paying BP claims based upon Juneau’s interpretation of the Deepwater Horizon settlement agreement and the use of a revenue formula to determine the validity and amount of BP claims.

Click here for free legal evaluation of BP claims

If BP’s request is unsuccessful, it alternatively will ask the BP settlement judge to ban BP claims payments to businesses in industries in which BP asserts that most of the fraudulent BP claims have been filed. That includes businesses in agriculture, construction, professional services, real estate, manufacturing and retail.

BP claims process leads to “false positives” and “absurd results,” says BP.

BP argues that the BP settlement administrator’s revenue formula for paying BP claims is requiring the global oil giant to pay billions more than it expected when it settled the Deepwater Horizon class action lawsuit. Juneau’s formula, BP says, leads to “false positives” with “absurd results.”

BP said that the settlement administrator made decisions in January that expose it to BP claims that were not contemplated when the BP settlement was agreed upon. BP is asking the court to order the settlement administrator to stop BP claims payments to any businesses whose claims are part of the administrator’s January decisions.

BP is also asking the court to block BP claims payments to businesses in certain industries, including agriculture, construction, professional services, real estate, manufacturing and retail.

$9.7 million BP claim was approved for a highway, street and bridge construction company in northern Alabama.

After the BP settlement was approved in December, 2012, attorneys throughout the Southeast have begun filing BP claims on behalf of all types of businesses, including some which are located hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast. One example cited by BP in its Friday court filings was a $9.7 million BP claim that was approved for a highway, street and bridge construction company in northern Alabama, over 200 miles from the Gulf Coast.

BP Claims Free Review – Click Here

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BP settlement | How you may be eligible for a BP settlement payment

BP claims may be filed by any business located in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the West Coast of Florida, all the way south to Key West.

Businesses in the areas listed above are all eligible for payments from the BP oil spill settlement, if they meet certain revenue requirements. When the settlement of the BP class action was negotiated, the attorneys representing the class knew that it would be difficult for many businesses which had lost money due to the oil spill to prove that they lost money because of the spill. However, most people know the oil spill devastated the economies of the Southeastern states, and affected businesses which aren’t near the Gulf Coast and aren’t involved in tourism. In recognition of that fact, the settlement allows businesses to file claims based upon comparisons of their gross revenues in 2010 with their gross revenues in other years.

BP claims eligibility is determined by a downturn in  gross revenues during the BP oil spill (May-December 2010) and other financial criteria. You do not have to prove that the BP oil spill caused your loss in revenues.

It has been estimated that billions of dollars of BP claims are still unpaid.

BP Claims Attorneys

Let our experienced litigation attorneys explain how your business can  collect money on a BP claim.

Contact us by using our Free BP Claims Evaluation Form for a no-charge consultation.

We don’t get paid unless we collect money for you.

Many BP claims are still unpaid because the businesses have not complied with all the details of the complicated BP claims process.  Our BP claims attorneys are working with accountants to take the burden off our clients’ shoulders, and speed up the payment of our clients’ BP claims.

Don’t let your BP settlement money go unclaimed.

The BP claims process is complicated. You can view the BP claims forms online here. To get the maximum payment from the BP settlement, you need an experienced legal team on your side. Our lawyers have decades of litigation experience, and have participated in class action and mass tort settlements involving hundreds of thousands of people. We have the experience and dedication to handle the BP claims filing process for you.

Fill out our Free BP Claims Evaluation Form to get a free review of your potential BP claim by the Birmingham, AL law firms of Yearout & Traylor, P.C. and Gathings Law. Or call Gusty Yearout at 800-226-6116 or Lloyd or Honora Gathings at (877) 803-3006.

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New focus for BP Oil News: The BP Settlement and processing of BP claims

A closer focus on businesses with potential BP claims in the BP settlement

As many know, this blog was started by attorney Michael J. Evans as a venture in citizen journalism. For the first year, BP Oil News did not accept ads, and Evans did not accept clients.

But after it became obvious that Kenneth Feinberg was not being truthful with the people of the Gulf, and was not “quickly and fairly” paying BP claims, Evans began to accept clients with claims against BP.

Now that the BP class action has been approved by Judge Barbier in New Orleans, BP is back to its old, secret, sneaky efforts to avoid paying valid BP claims that it told the judge it would pay when the BP settlement papers in court. But BP has been secretly influencing the settlement administrator not to pay valid BP claims, even though the Court has ordered the claims to be paid.

We’re grateful to the investigative journalists at WWL TV in New Orleans for digging in, finding emails that exposed BP’s hijinks, and publishing an article on March 5, 2013 that makes it clear that businesses and people with BP claims still cannot trust BP to treat them fairly.

Because BP is now aiming its deceitful conduct at honest business men and women who file claims in the BP settlement, BPOilNews.com will be focusing even more on BP’s efforts to delay and hinder the payment of legitimate BP claims from the BP class action settlement fund. If you have information about BP’s efforts to defeat legal, legitimate claims, please visit my blog at MJEvans.com and use the Contact Form to let me know about it.

For more information about our current focus and involvement in the BP claims process, please see our About BP Oil News page and the following posts:

BP settlement approved December 21, 2012. Do you have a BP claim?

BP settlement news for Alabama businesses: Many can get BP Settlement cash

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