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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2016-2054: Catholic Church’s and School’s Claims May Be Treated Separately

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.

On January 10, 2013 Claimant filed a consolidated BEL Claim for a Catholic church and a Catholic school in LaPlace, Louisiana. The church and the school maintained separate P&L’s and other financial records. The consolidated Claim was filed before the implementation of Policy 495. After the actions of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 2, 2013 and the United States District Court on December 24, 2013, the Claimant filed a separate BEL Claim for the school on February 3, 2014. On May 5, 2014 the U.S.District Court approved Policy 495.
The Claims Administrator processed this Claim as a consolidated Claim for multi-facilities and issued a denial finding that the consolidated Claim did not meet the
requirements of Exhibit 4B of the Settlement Agreement. Claimant appeals on multiple grounds, however this panelist will only deal with one of the appeal issues for reasons that follow.
Section 4.3.7 of the Settlement Agreement provides, in pertinent part:
“The Settlement Program, including the Claims Administrator
and Claims Administrator Vendors, shall use its best effort to
provide Economic Class Members with assistance, information
and opportunities and notice so that the Economic Class Member
has the best opportunity to be determined eligible for and receive
the Settlement Payment(s) to which the Economic Class Member
is entitled under the Settlement Agreement.”
Section 4.3.8 of the Settlement Agreement provides in pertinent part:
“The Claims Administration Vendors shall evaluate and process
the information in the Completed Claim form and all supporting
documentation under the terms of the Economic Damage Claim
Process to produce the greatest Economic Damage Compensation
Amount that such information and supporting documentation
allows under the Economic Damage Claim Framework.”
This panelist has found no provision in the Settlement Agreement or in the Claims Administrator’s Policies which would prevent a Claimant from “de-consolidating” a consolidated Claim into separate facility Claims before adjudication by the Claims Administrator. Here, it is clear that the Claimant’s filing of the second BEL Claim for the school only evidenced that Claimant wanted to file a separate Claim for the church and for the school.
In response to a Request for a Summary of Review, the Claims Administrator stated: “Additional outreach and analysis would have to be performed to determine a Compensation Amount for the church as a separate Claim.” Accordingly, this panelist finds that the Settlement Program should have treated the Claim for the church (Claim XXX) and the Claim for the school (Claim YYY) as separate Claims and processed them as separate Claims.
Since the Claim before this panelist (Claim Id YYY) is for the church as a separate Claim, this panelist does not express an opinion on the issues raised on appeal in the school Claim (Claim Id YYY) as that Claim is not now before the panelist. The matter is remanded to the Claims Administrator to process the church’s separate facility Claim.

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