In an important victory for plaintiffs across the Gulf Coast, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a serious blow to BP last month when the court rejected BP’s attempt to block settlement payments to large numbers of victims.
Specifically, BP had tried to prevent businesses from claiming a share of settlement funds unless they could clearly trace their losses back to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Fifth Circuit chose to reject BP’s argument that the claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, had misinterpreted the terms of the carefully agreed upon settlement.
The defeat was a surprise to BP’s lawyers who have engaged in an aggressive campaign to cast victims of the oil spill as undeserving thieves. BP has taken out newspaper ads, run commercials on TV and generally gone after companies that it felt did not deserve a share of settlement funds. BP argued that businesses across the Gulf Coast were filing false claims and receiving compensation despite the fact that their losses had no connection to the oil spill.