BP has withdrawn its motion seeking an injunction against paying approximately $1 billion for claims remaining in the $2.3 billion Seafood Compensation Program (SCP) Fund. In 2013, BP urged U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier to suspend additional payments required under the Settlement Agreement, claiming that it was tainted by an inflated number of SCP claimants who were projected to submit commercial fishing claims.
BP’s motion was filed in the midst of its attempt to stall and eventually overturn the 2012 Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement reached with private individuals and businesses. One year after the Settlement Program became operational, BP realized it underestimated the likely cost of the settlement and sought to renege on both certain provisions and the entire settlement. While the company was successful in altering the way in which Business Economic Loss claims are calculated, BP’s attempt to overturn the class settlement as a whole was denied.
Unfortunately, BP’s behavior during this process didn’t come as a surprise. Some huge corporations facing liability for their actions will do almost anything to limit their exposure, even when doing so directly contradicts what they tell the public. In this instance, BP touted the settlement as a fair and expedient way to resolve tens of thousands of claims asserted by those harmed by its conduct.
But when it came time to pay claims BP had acknowledged were legitimate, instead the company sought to invalidate the settlement it had agreed to. BP questioned those who were playing by the rules that BP had agreed to. The oil giant tried to intimidate other claimants from rightfully asserting their legitimate claims. In so doing, BP had no qualms about halting payments to commercial fishermen, who are among the many victims of this tragedy.
All of this goes to show that a fight against a corporate giant is never-ending, even when one thinks the companies have owned up to their “mistakes.” We have learned this reality over the years, so I can’t say our lawyers were surprised by BP’s actions. The lawyers from our firm working on this project will continue to fight for all of those harmed by the oil spill. So far their efforts have been successful.
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