US court rejects BP's objections to Deepwater Horizon settlement

04 March 2014 05:10 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A US appeals court on Monday rejected BP's request for a Deepwater Horizon settlement programme to require that certain businesses provide proof when filing a claim that they suffered economic losses as a result of the 2010 oil spill.

In a 2-1 vote, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 24 December order, in which a district court judge ruled that the UK energy giant would have to honour the claims administrator's interpretation of the previously agreed-upon terms of the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP).

The appellate court said the settlement agreement does not require a claimant to submit evidence that the claim arose as a result of the spill because each claimant is required to certify and declare under penalty of perjury that the information in the claim form is true.

The certification and declaration would include the claim that the loss was a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Additionally, the appellate court concluded that BP's request for a permanent injunction, which prevent payments to certain business economic loss (BEL) claims, should be dissolved, although it will remain in place until a court mandate is issued.

On 10 January, another appeals court panel upheld the district court's ruling that the certification of a class and the approval of the settlement agreement were proper and satisfied legal requirements.

In a statement on Monday, BP said it disagrees with the appellate court's decision.

"BP had asked the Court to prevent payments to business economic loss (BEL) claimants whose alleged injuries are not traceable to the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill," the company said. "BP believes that such BEL claimants are not proper class members under the terms of the settlement and is considering its appellate options."

The company argued that it "has already secured a favourable ruling in the courts" regarding the matching of revenues and expenses in calculating BEL claims.

BP previously said the settlement with businesses and individuals has ballooned up to $9.2bn in costs and could go higher.

By Tracy Dang