BP and some plaintiffs’ attorneys have revealed that they are asking the federal judge overseeing the process to open up another chance for those involved in the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill to participate in the proposed settlement.
BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, a group of attorneys who are meant to represent the collective claims of injured plaintiffs, have asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to give plaintiffs until December 15th to revoke previously filed requests to opt out of the proposed settlement.
Apparently the plaintiffs’ attorneys have said that some clients who earlier decided not to participate in the settlement had a change of heart and would now like to participate. The deadline was originally set for November 1 to opt out of the settlement and then for November 5 for revoking any previously submitted opt-out requests. The motion that has recently been filed does not ask that Barbier reopen the opt-out period, but instead only asks that those who want back into the settlement be given the chance.
The settlement that has been agreed to by BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee would dispense with the claims against BP by some 100,000 plus residents in the area affected by the oil spill. However, the deal is not done quite yet. The settlement proposal still requires a review and approval by Barbier, who was so far signaled that he is inclined to approve it.
Those plaintiffs who failed to opt out by November 1 are now bound by the terms of the deal that is ultimately reached, a figure that is estimated to be around $7.8 billion. A substantial number of plaintiffs have decided to opt out of the agreement; the Court said that around 25,000 prospective plaintiffs filed the formal papers to opt out of any settlement, freeing them up to sue on their own. Of this large group the Court says that about half have met the requirements necessary to officially opt out. These requirements include a valid signature by the potential claimant and an address. This estimate is much higher than another floated by a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee who said that only about 6,000 people have opted out of the settlement.
Judge Barbier lectured some plaintiffs’ attorneys who he said tried to encourage huge numbers of clients to opt out en masse. Barbier said that large mailings to clients violates the attorney’s job to individually analyze each case and that such mass advice fails to serve the best interest of clients. Barbier said that it was important for attorneys to inform their clients that if they opt out of the settlement they could be trading an immediate payment for years of litigation and delays.
If you’ve been impacted by the BP oil spill, don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi oil spill attorneys at Kobs & 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 spill claimants could get another chance to join settlement,” by Emily Pickrell, published at FuelFix.com.
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