Gulf Oil Spill Settlements Challenged

BP Challenging Gulf Oil Spill Settlements

BP has decided to challenge what could turn out to be billions in Gulf oil spill settlements. The apparent decision came along with full-page advertisements in three of the country’s largest newspapers.

The ad apparently accuses “trial lawyers and some politicians” of encouraging businesses along the Gulf Coast to submit claims of thousands of dollars for either inflated or nonexistent losses. The ad goes on to say:

“Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it’s wrong for anyone to take money they don’t deserve. And it’s unfair to anyone in the Gulf — commercial fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, and all the other hard-working people who’ve filed legitimate claims for real losses.”

It is unclear which businesses BP intends to target with the advertisements. However, the company also sent letters out to some businesses along the Gulf Coast, warning that an appeal decision in the oil giant’s favor could equal smaller payouts for them.

In the letter, company attorney Daniel Cantor added, “BP reserves whatever rights it may have to pursue any legal method to recover such overpayments.” But that legal action depends on the ruling of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The appeal comes after Judge Carl J. Barbier of Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana’s decision in April to uphold a court-appointed claims administrator’s interpretation of the settlement BP reached with a group of lawyers for plaintiffs.

BP appealed the oil spill settlement ruling, sending it up to the next level. And the latest ad also revealed what BP thought of the ruling, which it said, “interprets the settlement in a way no one intended.” The company added that the ruling will result in settlement payouts to businesses who weren’t even affected

While BP challenges the oil spill settlement cost, plaintiffs’ lawyers have said that the oil company simply undervalued how much the settlement would cost.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]