Articles Tagged with BP Litigation – MDL 2179 and Onshore and Offshore Injuries

With the three year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon (DWH) drill ship catastrophe on the Macondo well, the deadline to file claims under the Oil Field Pollution Act (“OPA”) is April 20, 2013. The claims filed require in many cases the prior filing of “presentment” to the responsible parties, BP and Trans Ocean, according to the findings of the Coast Guard Joint Investigation of the causes of the blow out. If you have not engaged counsel to assist you in this complicated legal proceeding, you should act as soon as possible.

Thornhill Law Firm is active and involved in the litigation in federal court that involves the liability determination. The firm offers its services to those in need of advice and counsel. We recommend that action be taken to protect one’s rights as necessary, including the exploration of all remedies available under the pending settlements for economics claims and medical claims to the excluded moratorium and governmental interests claims.

The deadline to file seafood compensation claims will expire January 20, 2013!

Section 5.11.9 of the Economic & Property Damages Settlement with BP mandates that all Seafood Program Compensation Claim Forms must be submitted within 30 days of the entry of the order and judgment approving the settlement by the District Court.

Because Judge Barbier approved the Economic & Property Damages Class Settlement on December 21, 2012, all Seafood Program Compensation Claims should be submitted to the Deepwater Horizon Court-Supervised Settlement Program by January 20, 2013.

Potential claimants and business have a deadline of November 1st 2012 in which to opt-out of the BP settlement process. Come in to the Thornhill Law Firm NOW so that our experts can determine if your claim is best suited under the settlement or should opt-out and be excluded from the class action in order to protect your interest.

We recommend that by December 20th,2012, you make presentment of your claim to BP OPA Claims Program in Houston, TX. Presentment MUST be made at least 90 days before a lawsuit is filed and your suit must be filed before April 20th, 2013, i.e., before the three-year statue of limitations.

Today, in the BP case, on April 18, 2012, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier was presented with the formal terms of a proposed class-action settlement designed to pay out billions of dollars in economic and medical damage claims resulting from the April 20, 2010 oil and gas blow out in the Gulf of Mexico. BP will pay in full, in acordance with the terms of the settlement, when approved, all claims described, inlcuding business claims, and personal injury claims, that fit within the defined terms of the settlements. There is not a cap on the total payments, although BP estimates its exposure as seven billion, eight hundred thousand (US $7.8 Billion) dollars. This settlement also does not decide claims for punitive damages against BP, the ship owner, Transocean Ltd, and cement contractor Halliburton. A status conference is scheduled for May 3, to discuss plans for the projected trial of the remaining parties involved.

There is still time to file your claim against BP! Thornhill Law Firm is filing claims for BP victims, including business and medical claimants in order to recover the amount due and deserved. For immediate assistance, you may contact Thornhill Law Firm at (985) 641-5010, toll free, (800) 989-2707, or by using the “Contact Us” form on the website for Thornhill Law Firm.

BP economics and medical claim? The time is perfect to engage counsel to file your claim for business losses and medical claims. Thornhill Law Firm will provide the required experts and legal assistance to develop the claims against BP, all in accordance with the expected settlement by the PSC with BP. Call Tom if you have questions: 985-641-5010, toll Free: (800)-989-2707.

These FAQs provide general information regarding the Agreement-in-Principle reached on March 2, 2012 between the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and BP. It is important to keep in mind that:

The Parties to the Agreement-in-Principle are attempting to complete a final Settlement Agreement to be submitted to the Court by April 16, 2012. Details are still being completed by the Parties for inclusion in the final Settlement Agreement. If the Parties are able to timely complete the final Settlement Agreement and it receives preliminary approval from the Court, then a detailed, court-approved notice program will be initiated and detailed information about the final Settlement Agreement will be available for class members.

These FAQ s summarize aspects of the Agreement-in-Principle. They are not a complete discussion of that Agreement. The information in these FAQs may be subject to change based upon the terms of the final Settlement Agreement, if it is reached by the Parties.

This FAQ is preliminary, subject to change, and is not approved by the Court. THIS FAQ IS DRAFTED BY THE MDL 2179 PLAINTIFFS’ STEERING COMMITTEE.
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On Friday, March 2, 2012, the Plaintiffs Steering Committee was able to negotiate a settlement of claims with BP prior to the much anticipated trial set to begin on March 5, 2012. Two separate settlements were negotiated, which will provide much needed relief to plaintiffs who suffered economic losses, as well those with medical claims. The settlements will be administered by the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and seek to fairly compensate individuals affected by the April 20, 2010 disaster. The settlement does not have a cap, which means all claims will be assessed fairly for their own value, as opposed to getting a portion of a settlement pool. BP, as required by United Kingdom regulations, has estimated the cost of the settlement at $7.8 billion.

The settlements include claims that were not previously paid by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the organization set up by BP to administer the $20 billion claims fund set up in 2010. These include claims for loss of use and enjoyment of water front property and medical claims. One key aspect of the economic loss settlement is that it recognizes a “one size fits all” approach will not work, and has set forth provisions which seek to fairly compensate the victims of this disaster. The medical claims settlement not only compensates for injuries, but also sets forth a medical consultation program, which provides that the injured are seen by healthcare professionals for the next 21 years. The settlement will also fund an outreach program, which will promote physical, mental, and behavioral health in areas affected by the oil spill.

If you feel you were impacted by the BP Oil Spill and you wish to learn more about your legal rights and the settlement process, you should consider contacting an attorney. Thornhill Law Firm, A PLC has experience with large class action settlements, and for information on how we can help, please contact our office at (985) 641-5010 or by using the Contact Us form on our website.

Monday, July 11th Gov Bobby Jindal, along with other local and state officials, revealed his plans for restoring Louisiana’s coastal areas, fisheries, and oyster seed grounds from the destructive effects of the BP oil spill. He says that the state will seek approval for more than a half billion dollars in restoration projects to repair coastal areas and fisheries affected by last year’s oil disaster. BP has already agreed to spend $1 billion in April of this year, a pact with the federal government and the five Gulf States. Through the $1 billion agreement from BP, the five Gulf states get $100 million each and the federal government will get $200 million. The remaining $300 million with be divvied out to projects deemed the most urgent, here, Louisiana hopes to get the majority of that $300 million, and to see a share of the $200 million federal portion spent on projects here on our own shores. Of the $1 billion, Jindal’s “Louisiana Plan” details projects that will restore wetlands, improve barrier islands and eroded shorelines, build ridges, breakwaters and land bridges to protect existing shorelines. “We expect to receive a fair share, a disproportional share, of those dollars, based on the amount of damage that happened to our coast,” Jindal said. He continued, citing a number of reports and federal statistics on which the coast of Louisiana received 92 percent of the heavily and moderately oiled shoreline, and than most of the birds, mammals, fish and other wildlife were also heavily affected. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell noted that not only Louisiana will be requesting shares of the money, other states represented on the council of trustees will be making cases justifying their regions own need. “Every state has a seat at the table,” Caldwell said, additionally stating that the Jindal administration has put together a thorough list of proposed projects that Jefferson Parish President John Young calls “shovel ready.” Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves, will present Jindal’s projects next week to a committee of trustees representing the Gulf states and other federal agencies, where it must be approved and subsequently approved by BP.

Among the states affected by the oil spill, Louisiana developed their plan of more than 350 proposals from the public, parishes and state agencies, while other states are still holding hearings to request projects to submit for the funding. Jindal focuses on the Louisiana oyster industry, requesting $15 million from BP to rebuild the state’s once thriving oyster industry. In a recent report, BP claims that the Louisiana oyster industry was not affected by the oil but by the freshwater diversions along the Mississippi River. Understanding this, Jindal’s projects counters BP’s report by providing information where the freshwater diversions were an effort to keep oil out of fragile wetland habitats, and therefore a subsequent result of the oil spill.

The governor’s plans include a $12 million oyster project to position clutch materials on 855 acres of public oyster grounds in parts of Mississippi Sound, Lakes Fortuna, Lake Machias, Hackberry Bay, Lake Chien, Sister Lake, and Calcasieu Lake, with $3 million improving oyster hatcheries at Grand Isle. Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes would receive more than $146 million directed at improving and restoring their fisheries and coastal areas. In Lafourche, the state has already set aside $77 million of the $220 million needed for the Caminada headland project, which will re-establish 2,066 acres of beach, 7-foot-high sand dunes and marshes between Belle Pass and Caminada Pass on Fourchon and Elmer’s Island. In response to Jindal’s plan, Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet expressed his support saying, “We were one of the most impacted parishes, and I think we got our fair share.”
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Kenneth Feinberg, administer of economic damage payments for The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid out almost $4.5 billion, with $2.6 billion being payments from an emergency payment phase, to local businesses and personal claims along the gulf coast. Feinberg has utilized a quick-pay process to quickly settle the straightforward, non-continuing claims, awarding almost $1 billion in final settlements in four months of this year.

In the past two months, the GCCF has distributed close to $700 million for more complex claims that involved full review, analyzing, and documentation. The good news is that the average payment has been steadily rising in the past two months, from $16,000 to $20,000.

Since the first year anniversary of the spill this past April, Feinberg has granted an additional 15 percent of claimants, totaling 26 percent now, and made offers to nearly half of the 115,000 settlement-seeking claimants. Feinberg reports that many individuals and businesses are still submitting claims, even though the pace has drastically decreased in comparison to previous quarters. There is still time to submit a claim for your business or personal income loss, and it is important to correctly complete your claim with the necessary information and support to guarantee the greatest possible result.

Thus far, the GCCF has processed over 95 percent of the 300,000 claims filed before the end of May. Forty percent of those were deemed either deficient or ineligible. There are 54,000 claimants seeking final payment whom Feinberg considers eligible, and if they continues at this rate, all eligible claims will be paid off in the next four months. If the average payment stays the same, rather than increasing like it has been, $1.1 billion will be paid before November.
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Thursday June 9th 2011, Jack M. Weiss who was appointed by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth R. Feinberg, and serves as the chancellor of the Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center, appointed 25 “distinguished members of the legal community” to serve as the appeals judges on Gulf Coast Claims Facility appeal judgments. This grouping of “highly competent, respected and experienced,” retired federal and state judges, legal academics and professional mediators or arbitrators were selected from the directly affected areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. They will serve to handle the billions of dollars in claims against BP and the other companies involved in the 2010 rig explosion that poured hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, interrupting fisheries, businesses and tourism.

To file an appeal with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the claim must surpass $250,000 and must be presented to the GCCF no longer than 14 days after the Determination Letter has been issued to the claimant. The Panel of Appeals Judges will view and decide the outcome of your claim within fourteen days after receiving the file. It is vital that your form include an exhaustive listing of your claim and filed correctly in compliance with the GCCF. If you are business owner with a claim, or one affected by the oil spill, contact a knowledgeable attorney with the resources to handle large claims and one who will guarantee the greatest obtainable outcome.
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