In 2010, an oil drilling rig operated by British Petroleum (BP) exploded on the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Louisiana. This terrible accident caused a giant oil spill that led to devastating effects that are still felt today. More than five years later, the area surrounding where the oil spill originally occurred continues to suffer from environmental and socioeconomic unrest. Aside from the impact left by the oil spill to nature and wildlife, the accident has also caused a significant number of businesses and non-profit organizations to suffer property damage and financial losses.
Through a settlement agreement, BP made a commitment to provide compensation for these damages and has paid up to $2.3 billion in settlements until they started issuing appeals for majority of claims made by those affected by the accidents, particularly by businesses and non-profit organizations. As such, plenty of these establishments have been forced to close their doors or file for bankruptcy. BP argues that much of the payments they’ve issued in the past were for non-legitimate claims, alleging that the payments have been carelessly awarded by court-appointed settlement fund administrator Patrick Juneau. The Big Oil giant also emphasize that their original settlement contract included a clause allowing them to appeal any claim that is more than $25,000.
These legal disputes have made it difficult for small-time owners and operators to keep their establishments running. Most legitimate claimants whose compensations have been appealed aren’t even aware of the process they need to undertake in order to receive the payment due to them. However, a December 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States can change the tides. The highest court of the country has made a unanimous decision to decline the appeal that BP made of their original settlement agreement. This development could signal that claimants can finally receive proper payment to cover damages they’ve incurred due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.Read More