BP Settlement Review Further Delays Payouts; RD Legal Offers Accelerated Attorney Settlement Funding
CRESSKILL, N.J., Oct. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On October 3rd, BP was granted an injunction in the case regarding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Explosion and the subsequent oil spills. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is placing some settlement payments in the current settlement agreement up for review, which will prolong settlement award payouts and payment of attorney fees. To alleviate the financial stress of plaintiffs' attorneys working on this case, RD Legal Funding, LLC ("RD Legal") is offering accelerated attorney settlement funding.
BP Plc. appealed U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's decision of March, 2012, that all claims against BP were fair and correct. BP also raised a suit against claims administrator Patrick Juneau, who allegedly was approving payouts to private plaintiffs whose damages were unrelated to the spill or explosion. The case against Juneau was dismissed, but enough reasonable doubt was raised in the appellate proceedings to send the case back to the court for review and to delay some settlement payouts until the review is complete. BP hopes that the review will find many claims against BP have been fraudulent. To date, approximately $3.69 billion in reparations have been paid to private plaintiffs, which is less than half of the $7.8 billion agreed upon in the original terms of settlement.
While settlement details are being sent back to the courts for review, the second part of the trial is still proceeding. BP and government officials entered into a three week testimonial period on October 7, where each party will be given a chance to demonstrate exactly how much oil was spilled during the 2010 oil rig explosion. BP believes that the methods used by the Department of Justice are "simplistic" and "unproven", and have caused the DOJ to grossly overestimate the amount of oil that was leaked. DOJ estimates that approximately 176 million gallons were spilled as a result of the Deepwater Horizon capsize; BP estimates that 103 million gallons were leaked. Both parties, however, agree that at least 34 million gallons escaped before the leak was capped.
BP is trying not only to prove that a lesser amount of oil was spilled than the government claims, but that the company was not grossly negligent in its actions. According to the rules established by the Clean Water Act, BP will have to pay $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled if found to be grossly negligent, whereas it will only have to pay $1,100 per gallon spilled if not found to be grossly negligent.
Plaintiffs' attorneys are opposed to the settlement review, claiming that the court is in essence giving BP a "get out of jail free" card by allowing BP to avoid paying agreed upon settlement amounts. BP initially acknowledged financial responsibility for clean-up efforts and "legitimate and objectively verifiable" claims for property damage, personal injury, and commercial losses within 10 days of the oil rig explosion. Plaintiff's attorneys feel that the company is reneging on this promise, while BP feels that the settlement review is simply to determine which claims are "legitimate and objectively verifiable".
While the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is reviewing some payments and the second part of the trial is in session, payments to attorneys will be further delayed, especially contingency fee lawyers. RD Legal is making its post-settlement Fee Acceleration Program available to assist plaintiffs' attorneys and CPAs involved in the BP trials improve their cash flow. For more information, please contact Joseph Genovesi, President of RD Legal, at 1-800-565-5177, ext. 140, or visit http://www.legalfunding.com.
SOURCE RD Legal Funding, LLC