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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2016-2119:No Abuse of Discretion In Selecting Date Harvest Began Rather Than Month Harvest Stopped As End Date for Crop Season

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 the owner of a farming operation in Greenwood, Mississippi, and appeals the denial of its BEL claim on the basis it failed to satisfy the causation requirements of Exhibit 4B of the Settlement Agreement. Claimant asserts the Settlement Program(SP) incorrectly calculated the 2009 soybean crop season ran from March to October rather than from April to November, which resulted in claimant’s failure to satisfy causation requirements. Claimant contends that many deliveries of the harvest to grain elevators in early November were attributed to the month of October and that this rounding of data is violative of the Agriculture Methodology and Policy495.

BP in response argues the SP properly analyzed claimant’s records and determined the crop season allocations in accordance with the provisions of policy 495.
A review of the record discloses that the earliest planting date for soybeans in 2009 was April 8,2009, and that claimant brought in product to the grain elevators until November 13,2009. Paragraph 10 of the Calculation Notes reflect this entry:”DWH Accountant noted that the harvest documentation in 2009 occurred in  mid-month. DWH Accountant noted that unloading dates in 2010 and 2011 occurred no later than 10/17 and that the month of harvest was not more than six months after the month of field preparation. Based on the assigned crop season start date, DWH Accountant determined the 11/13/2009 unloading date to reflect a 10/31/2009 crop season end date.” This determination is reasonable and consistent with the provisions of policy 495 which defines a “crop season” as “the months from preparing the field for sowing seed through to the harvesting of the produce.” In this instance, seed was not sowed until early April so it was logical to assign field tilling and preparation to the month of March. Likewise, the crop was not ripe for harvest until October when harvest began and continued until early November.
There was nothing illogical or unreasonable to the determination made by the SP to assign an end date of October 31,2009, to the crop season. It is undisputed the crop had ripened,was ready for harvest and harvest was well underway in October 2009. Additionally, November 13, 2009, is closer in time to October 31,2009, than to November 30,2009.
Finally, as noted by the SP, these time frames yield a crop season consistent in time with that allocated for the years 2010 and 2011 used in this claim analysis. There is no adequate showing by claimant that the SP abused its discretion in the application of policy 495 in selecting the month the harvest began rather than the month the harvest stopped as the end date for the crop season. Accordingly,the decision of the Claims Administrator is affirmed and the appeal of claimant is denied.

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