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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2017-1237:Claimant’s Proximity to Zone A and Support of Tourism Claimant Insufficient To Qualify for 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

The Settlement Program found that Claimant is not a “tourism” business doing business in Zone A, and therefore, the Denial Notice denied granting a presumption of causation, and determined the Claimant had not satisfied any of the causation tests required for a Zone C business to recover under the Settlement Agreement.
Claimant contends it is a taxi cab business operating primarily in Zone A, and argues that the Settlement Program erroneously categorized this business as “located in” Zone C because of the location of its administrative office. However, says Claimant, this Claimant operates its business primarily in Zone A. Further, the administrative office is a mere 6 blocks from Zone A. Claimant’s office is also less than 300 feet from Zone B. Thus, says Claimant, based on this location and where its business is principally conducted, this Claimant should have been classified as a Zone A tourism business with presumed causation.
BP contends that Claimant has not provided any documentation supporting its assertion. Neither the parent company nor its subsidiary, Claimant, owned any taxi cabs between 2007 and 2012. Claimant’s business does not cater to tourists but rather provides administrative services to owners and operators of taxi cabs. Claimant’s
administrative headquarters is the appropriate facility to be used in the zone designation. This is also supported by Claimant’s 2010 Tax Return, which lists the Claimant’s primary services as a “Taxi Driver Association.”Claimant is a subsidiary, and as a subsidiary, the Claimant was the operating company. The Claimant earns revenues from the association of cab drivers who pay weekly dues for general liability insurance, dispatching services, and administrative functions. Thus, Claimant provides services to taxi drivers, not to taxi passengers. Because
Claimant has provided no documentation to substantiate its claim that it serviced tourists in Zone A, and the facts at hand show Claimant does not cater to tourists, according to BP, Claimant cannot be granted presumed causation and is not entitled recovery as a Zone A business. BP also contends that Claimant cites to another inapposite decision. Claimant relies on Appeal Panel Decision 2015-1559, to compel this Appeal Panel to rezone the Claimant’s place of business. Claimant’s claim is distinguishable from 2015-1559, in that there is little uncertainty regarding the nature and place of Claimant’s business.Claimant here is a Zone C administrative
support company, with no cabs, and does not rely on tourists within any Zone. Claimant’s customers are cab drivers.
Claimant argues that because its Zone C office is close to Zone B, it should be reclassified as Zone B. Simply being close to another Zone is not a basis for reclassifying a business. In its appeal Claimant is asking the Appeal Panel to disregard the Zone designations in their entirety and to simply ignore or overlook that Claimant is in fact a Zone C business. Thus, BP contends that Claimant is not a taxi cab provider, and does not directly engage in the tourism business. Claimant is an administrative support company for taxi cab drivers, and thus Claimant is not entitled to a Zone B classification without any evidence supporting their claim that their business is conducted within Zone A or B.
Accordingly, the Appeal Panel should uphold the Settlement Program’s decision below and deny Claimant’s appeal. Claimant counters with a less than convincing argument that even if one were to buy BP’s argument in this regard, this claimant still “relies upon” the tourism business because its “clients” rely almost exclusively on the tourism industry in downtown New Orleans. This panelist denies the Claimants appeal and upholds the decision of the Settlement Program.

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