BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Settlement

The case, In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No. 2:10-md-2179, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, involves claims of individuals and businesses for damages proximately caused by the explosion of British Petroleum’s oilrig, “Deepwater Horizon,” which released of over 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 (the “BP Oil Spill). 

On March 2, 2012, days before trial was scheduled on liability for the BP Oil Spill, BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (“PSC”) agreed to resolve certain economic loss and property damage claims (“EPD Settlement”) with no limit on the total dollar amount of the settlement, with the exception of the Seafood Compensation Program, which was capped at $2.3 billion (“SCP” and, together with EPD Settlement, the “Settlement”). See http://www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/.

As part of the agreement, a Court-Supervised “Settlement Program” was established to review and pay qualified claims made by individuals and businesses that are members of the EPD Settlement class. Funds remaining in the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”), a $20 billion settlement fund set up on June 16, 2010, were used to pay any qualified claims under the Settlement Program, as determined by the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Commission (“DHECC”). Accordingly, the Settlement Program replaced the GCCF, so the Court issued an Order requiring that all claims-related information, files and data previously submitted to the GCCF be transferred and paid under to the Settlement Program.

The class members entitled to compensation under the Settlement consisted of businesses and individuals in certain geographic zones: Alabama; Mississippi; Louisiana; four Coastal Counties in Texas; and 14 Coastal Counties in Western Florida & the Florida Keys. Excluded from the class were: financial institutions, funds or other financial vehicles, the gaming industry, insurance entities, the oil and gas industry, defense contractors and subcontractors, real estate developers, or governmental organizations.

All class member settlements are payable from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust (“Trust”). The Settlement Program will operate until the last timely filed claim has been processed and the last appeal has been completed. When the cash balances in the Trust are exhausted, payments and other costs will be made directly by BP.