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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Federal judge rules proof of direct causation unnecessary for BP oil spill claimants

Today's post is shared from

[JURIST] US District Judge Carl Barbier for the US District Court Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] ruled [order, PDF] on Tuesday that BP [corporate website] could not require businesses to provide proof their economic losses were directly caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill [JURIST news archive] under the terms of their prior settlement agreement. Under the $9.2 billion settlement, BP had agreed that businesses in certain geographical regions were presumed to have economic losses from the oil spill if those losses followed a specific pattern. BP had challenged those terms [Bloomberg report], arguing that businesses could only recover if their damages directly linked to the spill, and stating that spill payments had been wrongly inflated through fake claims and poorly calculated economic losses. Barbier wrote that "the delays that would result from having to engage in a claim-by-claim analysis of whether each claim is 'fairly traceable' to the oil spill...are the very delays that the Settlement, indeed all class settlements, are intended to avoid" and that not only was the framework BP previously agreed "an efficient and 'economically appropriate' method of determining causation," but that a showing of direct causation "would bring the claims administration process to a virtual standstill." BP has indicated that it will appeal the ruling. However, Barbier did side with BP on one...

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