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Tom Young
Tom Young
Attorney • (813) 251-9706

BP Claim Malpractice: BP settlement could produce record legal malpractice cases


When the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic Loss & Property Damages Settlement Agreement was announced in the Spring of 2012, all manner of hucksters and snake-oil salesmen sprung from the woodwork to chase Business Economic Loss clients. Claiming quick and easy money for victims if they would just sign on the line that is dotted, these “professional” salespeople often over-promissed and under-delivered.

While the compensation program that preceded the 2012 Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP), the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), lent itself to the involvement of non-attorney para-professional “consultants,” the subsequent CSSP was no place for these lay people. Worse, even attorneys and Certified Public Accountants who should have known better than to enter a field in which they were ill-equipped to practice did so. The professional duty they owed to their clients was impossible to maintain as many simply had no idea what they were doing.

And how could they? Most of the attorneys holding themselves out as “BP claims experts” were really just moonlighting from their personal injury practices. While I hold the plaintiff trial lawyer in high regard, in this case some of them got in over their heads because they did not devote the time and resources required to properly advise and represent their clients in the BP claim process. Without a background in finance and accounting, or alternatively an in-house staff with such training, it was a recipe for disaster.

The Deepwater Horizon matter is the largest and most complex civil litigation ever conducted in a U.S. Court, yet some BP claim service providers – consultants, lawyers and accountants – haven’t even read the 1,200 page Settlement Agreement, nor the dozens of Exhibits to same, nor the 500 policies issued by the Claims Administrator which interpret and facilitate the implementation of the Settlement Agreement. Put simply, preparing, filing, and subsequently resolving BP Business Economic Loss claims is a full time job. Each day Court Orders are issued, appeal decisions handed down and new policies promulgated. It is simply impossible for anyone to adequately represent a claimant without devoting their undivided attention to this very specialized practice.

As the June 8, 2015 deadline to file claims has passed, we are beginning to receive calls from claimants who believe they may be the victims of professional malpractice. Some callers were told by one or more attorneys that their financial data did not meet the “V-Test” causation requirements, yet they were not made aware of the alternate routes to satisfying causation. Of course, after receiving such news, these people did not file claims before the deadline. Now they are time barred. We even fielded a call this week where the client’s accountant simply forgot to file the claim before June 8th.

The malpractice scenarios surrounding the BP claims process are too numerous to fully discuss here. Suffice it to say, if your accountant or attorney failed to file your claim before the deadline, you should seek out a malpractice attorney. This is also true if your claim was negligently undervalued by a “claims consultant” or other practitioner, or denied for any reason. If you believe your claim was undervalued, we would welcome the opportunity to provide a free second opinion. If someone advised you to accept an offer that was significantly lower than what you deserved under the precise terms of the Settlement Agreement, you have rights.

With all of this in mind, today The Law Office of Thomas L. Young, P.A. announces the opening of our new BP claims malpractice group.

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