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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2016-1377:Mobile Home Dealer Denied Tourism Designation Since 60% of Its Sale Were “Local”

Claimant is a mobile home dealer with five separate locations in Alabama and Tennessee. This claim concerns Claimant’s Montgomery, Alabama location, which is located in Zone D. The Settlement Program denied this claim because Claimant is located in Zone D and the Settlement Program determined that it is not entitled to a “Tourism” designation.
Exhibit 2 of the Settlement Agreement defines Tourism as “businesses which provide services such as attracting, transporting, accommodating or catering to the needs or wants of persons traveling to, or staying in, places outside their home community.” Exhibit 2 lists specific NAICS industry codes of businesses that meet the
“Tourism” definition. The Settlement Program assigned Claimant NAICS Code 453930 -Manufactured Mobile Home Dealers. Although Claimant used a different NAICS Code 441210 — Recreational Vehicle Dealers on its federal income tax returns, neither NAICS code is listed in Exhibit 2. However, Policy 289 holds that the NAICS
codes listed Exhibit 2 of the Settlement Agreement are illustrative and not exhaustive. Further, Policy 289 specifically states that the Claims Administrator will evaluate whether a claimant meets the tourism definition from the “totality of circumstances.”
Claimant has appealed, arguing that it meets the “Tourism” definition under the Settlement Agreement because it rents, sells, and repairs RV’s for tourists and avers that 38% of its vehicle sales from January 2007 through December 2011 were to customers located greater than 60 miles from Claimant’s dealership. Claimant argues
that although the NAICS code initially assigned to Claimant is not one of the codes specifically listed on Exhibit 2 of the Settlement Agreement, under the “totality of circumstances,” the fact that Claimant sells RV’s to tourists,rents RV’s to tourists, and services and repairs RV’s for tourists, qualifies Claimant to be classified under the
“Tourism” designation.
BP counters that Claimant’s calculations are based on customer information that begins in January 2007, more than three years prior to the Spill. Even assuming 38% of Claimant’s sales customers at the time of the Spill live more than 60 miles from the dealership, the fact that over 60% of its sales customers live in closer proximity is
enough to support the decision of the Settlement Program. Finally, Montgomery, Alabama, where Claimant is located, is surrounded by many rural areas that may not have an RV dealer at all, or one that offers a comparably large selection of vehicles. Claimant’s data disclose that nearly all of Claimant’s customers are from
Alabama (even those from more than 60 miles away). Claimant offers no proof that these customers were tourists or were traveling outside of their home community. It also occurs to this panelist that a local resident is more likely than not to buy or rent a mobile home from a dealer in or around the local’s home area, and Claimant’s calculations bear this out.
This panelist concludes that Claimant’s documentation does not justify a different result than that previously determined by the Settlement Program, and that the “totality of circumstances” supports the SettlementProgram’s decision. Claimant’s appeal is denied.

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