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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2015-1529: Grocery Store in Florida Keys not Tourism


The following is an Appeal Panel Decision issued pursuant to Section 6 of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement and the Rules Governing the BP Appeals Process. Links may have been added to assist the reader. The original decision may be found here, as well as a glossary of BP Settlement terms.

Claimant filed this BEL Claim and in its BEL Claim Form described itself as a “Grocery store serving tourists and locals in the Key West Area”. Claimant assigned itself NAICS Code 445110 (Supermarkets and other Grocery Stores). In response to Question 18 on the Claim Form (Does your business fall within the Tourism Definition?), Claimant replied “NO”. Claimant’s CPA firm prepared its calculation of the value of Claimant’s BEL Claim. This is the same CPA firm who prepared Claimant’s annual Tax Returns. Claimant’s CPA firm, on Claimant’s Tax Returns and BEL calculation documents, listed Claimant’s NAICS Code as 445110 (Supermarkets and other Grocery Stores).

Claimant filed separate claims for its 2 stores in Key West. In the claim at issue here, the Settlement Program (SP) issued an original Eligibility Notice with a Compensation amount of $41,355.61 and an RTP of 1.50. For the other store, the SP issued an original Eligibility Notice of $23,941.65 and an RTP of 1.50.

After the aforementioned Eligibility Notices were issued, the Claimant, through the same CPA firm, requested a “RE-Review” of both claims. Interestingly, the same CPA firm then tells the SP that the NAICS Code that the CPA used on Claimant’s tax returns and Claims Calculation worksheets were incorrect. Now, the CPA firm says the correct NAICS Code should be 452990 – all other Merchandise Stores. That NAICS code is listed in Exhibit 2 of the Settlement Agreement and would afford Claimant a Tourism RTP of 2.50.

The SP then issues Post Re-Review Eligibility Notices on both claims awarding a Tourism RTP of 2.5.

BP appeals on this claim disputing the Tourism RTP. It should be noted that BP could not appeal the other claims because the Compensation Amount was less than $25,000.00 (Sec Section of the Settlement Agreement).

This panelist has thoroughly reviewed the record in this matter. Claimant is what, until very recently, it has always described itself as – a grocery store. While some tourists may shop there, this panelist does not find that Claimant’s business meets the Settlement Agreement’s definition of Tourism. Accordingly, BP’s Final Proposal is the correct result.

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