There are recent developments related to the BP oil spill that may prove beneficial to companies as well as individuals. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) headed by Kenneth Feinberg has closed, and the new Deepwater Horizon Court-Supervised Settlement Program is now open and accepting claims. This new program is a class action settlement and represents a dramatic change from the policies and procedures of the GCCF. The new program includes much broader requirements to participate and deserves the attention of any business or individual who has not already accepted a final payment. Some important highlights include:
- The Economic and Property Damages Settlement Class covers individuals and businesses located in all parishes of Louisiana, all counties of Mississippi and Alabama, and certain Gulf-coast counties of Texas and Florida.
- The settlement program provides compensation to owners of coastal real property for loss of use and physical damage to real or personal property.
- Many businesses may qualify for compensation, even if they are not involved in tourism or do not have locations close to the Gulf of Mexico.
- The determination of causation (whether your loss was related to the Spill) and compensation are driven by financial formulas. Many claimants will be eligible for compensation based solely on financial data.
- While the settlement facility is expected to remain open through April 2014, some important deadlines include (1) the deadline to object to the settlement is August 31, 2012 and (2) the deadline to “opt-out” of the settlement is October 1, 2012.
- As a court-supervised claims process, your claim with the Settlement must be handled by either an attorney or you must represent yourself. HTB will work with clients who have obtained legal representation (and their legal counsel) as well as clients who choose to represent themselves.
HTB can provide assistance in gathering or producing the required documentation, applying the various causation tests, calculating your claim under the appropriate framework and helping you to understand the tax implications of any settlement payments. Please contact us if you would like more information or assistance in determining if you meet the parameters of the settlement. We look forward to assisting you in this matter.