BP Claims Appeal: Will the legal battle finally end?

The legal battle over the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill has yet to find its definite conclusion. When the drilling rig operated by the oil firm giant exploded, the accident left in its wake many devastating consequences for the Gulf of Mexico and the nearby Louisiana coast. Aside from significant environmental impact, the BP oil spill also caused socioeconomic unrest for the surrounding area.

A number of businesses, particularly those in the fields of tourism and hospitality, commercial fishing, and shrimp and oyster farming, have suffered great financial losses because of the oil spill. To compensate for these losses, BP promised to settle any damages caused by the accident to both businesses and individuals. The Big Oil company has made up to $2.3 billion in settlement payments until they recently stopped and started appealing majority of the claims. They argue that Patrick Juneau, the Louisiana court-appointed settlement fund administrator, has been carelessly awarding payments to claimants that have no legitimate proof that they have been affected by the oil spill. They also maintain their right to appeal any claims that exceed $25,000, emphasizing that such a clause was part of the original settlement contract they agreed to.

Because of such disputes over the original settlement agreement, even legitimate claimants are stuck in a waiting game. Plenty of the affected businesses continue to suffer damages to their current financial situation, with some having forced to declare bankruptcy. The website of the BP claim appeal lawyers at Williams Kherkher estimates that claimants are still waiting for a total of $7.8 billion in compensation payment.

In December 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States made a unanimous decision to decline BP’s appeal of the original settlement agreement. Because the country’s highest court is BP’s last avenue for appeal, this development could finally signal the long-awaited end to the drawn out legal battle. Affected businesses can only hope that receive their much-deserved compensation payments as soon as possible.