In just one sentence, the United States Supreme Court rejected BP’s latest attempt to stay economic claim payments to Gulf Coast business. For months, BP has manufactured arguments and contradicted its own statements in open court in a desperate attempt to rewrite its own settlement agreement, which the company negotiated, agreed to and supported just two years ago. BP’s latest effort to halt payments followed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of the company’s alternative causation arguments, leaving the company with a final appeal route to the Supreme Court of the United States. The company was seeking to stay the Fifth Circuit’s mandate while it considered certiorari review of the Fifth Circuit’s order.
While not conclusive, the Supreme Court’s order is likely the most devastating ruling to date against BP in its settlement fight. To put the Court’s order in perspective, one of the most important questions the Supreme Court had to answer when deciding whether a stay on payments should be entered was whether the Court believed it would accept BP’s appeal of the causation order. If the Court believed it would consider a writ of certiorari from BP, the Court would have likely granted a stay on claim payments. Tellingly, not just assigned Justice Scalia but the entire Supreme Court rejected the stay.
There can be no doubt – the Supreme Court made the right decision in this case. BP negotiated, agreed to and openly supported the settlement agreement in order to obtain full and final releases from Gulf Coast residents in five states. After the opt-out deadline passed for class participants, the company completely turned course and sought to destroy the settlement. Now, with losses at every level of the federal judiciary, the door is closing fast on BP’s manufactured settlement arguments. Hopefully, armed with a very clear message from the Supreme Court, the company will finally fall in line and make good on its promises to Gulf Coast residents and businesses. If you need more information on the BP litigation, contact Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com.
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