It’s official. BP and the lead plaintiffs lawyers have won a final approval of a portion of their proposed $7.8 billion settlement. The two sides received final approval over the economic and environmental loss portions of their partial settlement of claims. This means that the agreement will resolve most individuals’ claims for economic loss and property damage related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent spill.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, based in New Orleans, gave his final approval to the settlement last week after he considered objections to the agreement. The news did not come as a big surprise given that Judge Barbier had given preliminary approval to plan back in May of 2012. Barbier said that the proposed settlement sufficiently provides compensation to class members.
Barbier also reviewed a section of the settlement that was meant to cover the plaintiffs’ physical injuries related to the spill and cleanup. The agreement set aside money to provide medical monitoring of their health in the future. The settlement was reached back in March, only two days before a trial was set to begin. Though the current estimate is that the plan is worth $7.8 billion, there is no cap on claims and the numbers could rise.
The settlement currently excludes claims of financial institutions, casinos, private plaintiffs in certain parts of Florida and Texas, and residents and businesses that have argued that the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep water drilling has caused them harm.
By approving the settlement, Barbier dismissed objections that had been raised by more than 13,000 victims of the spill who argued the deal underpays them and excludes others. Many of these people were those excluded from the settlement or from fishermen who believe they are not getting enough for lost catches. Lawyers for some of the fishermen argued that the $2.3 billion set aside for their claims is inadequate given the damage that appears to have occurred to the stocks of snapper and other fish in the region.
Barbier said that so far information is inconclusive about whether certain varieties of fish stocks have collapsed. Furthermore, Barbier wrote that, “Settlements are compromises” and just because some people wanted more money is not a reason to reject the entire settlement.
If you’ve been impacted by the BP oil spill, don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi oil spill attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800. Currently, we are accepting VOO claims, claims for Commercial Fisherman, claims for Recreational Fisherman, claims for Personal Lost Income and Business Lost Income, and claims for Owners of Waterfront Property. Call us today to ensure that you are not left behind and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve!
Source: “BP Gulf Oil Spill Judge Approves $7.8 Billion Settlement,” by Jef Feeley, published at Bloomberg.com.
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