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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2016-2075: Claimant Entitled To Choice of Its Most Favorable Zone Location

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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 is a structural steel fabricator and installer located in Louisiana.  The Settlement Program determined, for purposes of this claim, that Claimant was located in Barataria, Louisiana, (Zone A) and applied a RTP of 1.50. BP appeals, taking the position Claimant was located in Harvey, Louisiana (ZoneD), and thus an RTP of 0.25 should have been applied.
BP argues Claimant has repeatedly represented its business location to be in Harvey, Louisiana. Claimant provided this address as the business location on its  Registration Form from the outset of its claim. BP points out that during the processing of this claim, Claimant used the Harvey, Louisiana business address on its formal letterhead. Other indicia, including Claimant’s current website, reflect the Harvey, Louisiana location. Finally, BP maintains the address which Claimant used on its
2009-2010 tax returns, appears to be a personal residential address.
The Settlement Program implemented Policy 331 to provide guidance in this situation, which states in relevant part, “The Claims Administrator will assign an
entity the Zone in which the claimant was located at any time during the Compensation Period applicable to the claimant that is most favorable to the claimant.”
The record contains ample indicia to support the Claims Administrator’s finding that Claimant used the the Barataria, Louisiana location at times during the Compensation Period, which brings it under the aegis of Policy 331. Claimant apparently performed nearly all of its administrative work and design work from the
address, such as reading and interpreting plans and specifications for projects, estimating jobs for proposals, pricing and writing change orders for contracts, invoicing customers, and managing accounts receivable and accounts payable. Claimant asserts it used this address from 2000 to 2011, at which time it moved its administrative office to the Harvey address.
Claimant filed a number of documents it issued or received prior to the Spill, including invoices, tax returns, correspondence, and its contractor’s license, all which demonstrate that Claimant utilized the ***address for its administrative work at the time of the Spill. Other cases decided by fellow Appeal Panelists have considered the “dual location” question, and interpreted Policy 331 in light thereof.  Appeal Panel Decision 2015-18XX discusses this issue. In that case, the claimant listed a
multitude of addresses used in various documents provided to the Settlement Program. The Appeal Panel denied BP’s appeal, citing Policy 331’s language and stating that “it was unnecessary for the Administrator to investigate the other addresses identified by BP. As long as the claimant was located at the Zone B address ‘at any time’ during the Compensation Period, it is entitled to the benefit of the more favorable zone.”
There is ample evidence to support the determination made by the Claims Administrator. The fact Claimant later moved its administrative operations to the Harvey location does not disqualify the claim. BP ’s appeal is denied, and Claimant’s Final Proposal, consistent with the Award, is hereby selected.

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