05302017Headline:

Tampa, Florida

HomeFloridaTampa

Email Tom Young Tom Young on LinkedIn Tom Young on Twitter Tom Young on Facebook Tom Young on Avvo
Tom Young
Tom Young
Attorney • (813) 251-9706

BP Settlement: Claim Funding, Attorney & Accounting Fee Advances Available

6 comments

When the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement was entered into in May 2012, the Court Supervised Settlement Program was advertised as a claimant-friendly, non-contentious process designed to quickly and efficiently compensate individuals and businesses that experienced losses as a result of the disaster. The processing and payment of claims was anticipated to take weeks – certainly no more than a few months. Over two years later, the reality is much different, as most business economic loss claims have languished for 24 months or more with seemingly no resolution in sight.

Facing Reality

The Settlement’s backers and Claims Administration officials were clearly overly optimistic with their initial predictions. With the benefit of hindsight, it has now become clear that the complexities of administering a program governed by a Settlement Agreement exceeding 1,000 pages, as well as over 500 subsequent “policies” meant to interpret same, has simply overwhelmed the organization tasked with doling out the funds. Couple this with BP’s puzzling attempts to derail the Settlement by under funding Claims Administration staffing, filing frivolous appeals, attacking claimants, lawyers and the courts, and otherwise mucking up the works, it is a wonder any claims have been paid at all.

It’ll Get Worse Before It Gets Better

While U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier lifted the injunction prohibiting claim payments in late May 2014, logistically speaking, the Claims Administration still labors to evaluate claims at anything more than a snail’s pace. Greatly complicating matters is the implementation of Policy 495, the so-called “matching” fix which is meant to more accurately measure a claimant’s loss. While the legality of Policy 495 is at best debatable, it is unfortunately now the law of this case and must be dealt with.

At 88 pages, Policy 495 turns the Settlement Agreement and the processing of claims on their heads. One can and should question how an additional 88 pages can be tacked on to an executed contract two years after the fact. The Claims Administration is clearly paralyzed by its application. Worse, even after the Claims Administration determines how to apply Policy 495 and eligibility notices flow anew, the subjective nature of the policy will likely result in many more claim appeals lodged by BP, further delaying final payments.

As such, we are counselling our clients not to anticipate payment on any particular claim in 2014. We expect it will take well into 2015 for payments to resume in earnest. A claimant paid in 2014 should consider herself fortunate.

Helping Clients Stay Afloat

For a company purporting to be “Committed to the Gulf,” BP has an odd way of showing it. Businesses hurt once by the spill’s economic impact are now being hurt again through BP’s legal machinations and other delay tactics. Many claimants are barely hanging on.

Our law firm has developed relationships with legal financing companies, hedge funds and other sources of capital in an effort to provide liquidity options to claimants. While deals can be structured in any number of ways, most are non-recourse, meaning that if a claim is rejected or not paid for any reason, the claimant is not obligated to repay the financial institution. All of the risk is born by the financier. These can be attractive options for those needing cash now or who have otherwise lost patience with the claims process.

Helping Attorneys & CPA’s Keep The Doors Open

Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and other professionals are the new victims of BP’s scorched earth legal strategy. Most BP claim law firms and CPA’s did not budget for a multi-year slog. Even Judge Barbier anticipated a relatively pain free representation landscape when he limited attorneys fees to 25%, well below the traditional one-third.

Many law firms shifted their employees away from their conventional roles into BP claim representation and support. This made sense when liquidity events were anticipated in six months or less. Now it may not.

In addition to facilitating financing for BP claimants, our law firm can assist attorneys and accounting professionals by financing accounting reimbursement receivables and anticipated legal fees. The time to consider these options is now, as BP’s war chest is magnitudes larger than all claim professionals combined. If you do not have adequate financial backing it will be very difficult to properly represent your clients in the coming months and years.

Wash Your Hands?

Of course, if this is all too much and you as a professional have tired of the battle, no one would blame you. We have met with several law and accounting firms that have expressed interest in exiting the BP practice space altogether. Our law firm is uniquely qualified to co-counsel with your firm as BP claim preparation and representation is our sole practice. Our office includes in-house CPA, MBA and Chartered Financial Analyst professionals with unmatched experience in this unique exercise. Because of the nature of our operation, we enjoy efficiencies which will benefit you and your clients.

If you find value in never again responding to an incompleteness notice or dealing with an unwarranted BP appeal of your client’s claim, we would welcome the opportunity to take on your burden, so that you and your staff can reclaim your practice, getting back to what you do best.

6 Comments

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. Diane Mcmahon says:
    up arrow

    Tired of waiting !

  2. Rick Lacey says:
    up arrow

    Tom Young seems to be ahead of all other firms in appreciating that BP integrity is an oxymoron. BP is a corrupt corporation controlled by a madman. It will do and say anything in a single-minded drive for excessive returns. If you trust BP to “do the right thing” you have already lost.

  3. patrick says:
    up arrow

    It’s difficult to believe there is no recourse for claimants who are being stalled. At a minimum our government should be stripping them of their drilling rights in the gulf. To allow them to continue to drill is absurd in light of how they are handling things. Of course our government is proven to represent the interest of corporations, over the interest of “We The People”. I believe this is know as fascism.

  4. Dave Russell says:
    up arrow

    I can’t believe they can’t file another class action lawsuit over the hardship created by them needlessly stalling the process… Stop them from doing business in the US until this is settled… Make them pay interest equivalent or more than the interest they are making on their money… This is bullshit….

  5. Nadia Bonner says:
    up arrow

    I think a lot of so call people that are suppose to be on plaintiff sides are suspiciously not caring like Dave Russell their got to kick them out of the gulf how come they have not done any payments or very slow and they are still aloud to rape our natural resources and get to work and exploit us like nothing ever happen they are in my opinion a bunch crooks that are letting do this and also how come their CEOS got a raise I thought this outrageous I guess if you don’t have money or know somebody that knows somebody pretty much you are screw welcome to the fair cooperate America ?

  6. up arrow

    […] View Original: BP Settlement: Claim Funding, Attorney & Accounting Fee Advances Available […]

Leave a Comment

Have an opinion? Please leave a comment using the box below.

For information on acceptable commenting practices, please visit Lifehacker's guide to weblog comments. Comments containing spam or profanity will be filtered or deleted.