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Today the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear BP’s appeal of its own Settlement Agreement. For the past 18 months the company has been complaining about the Settlement it authored, executed and lobbied for court approval of.

With the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case, the clock starts running on a six month deadline for business owners and individuals who experienced an economic loss as a result of the spill to file their claims. The filing deadline is expect to be set for early-June, 2015.

Any business or employee who experienced a loss of profits or earnings relating in any way to, directly or indirectly, the Deepwater Horizon Incident is entitled to payment if they can demonstrate such a loss under the terms of the Settlement Agreement. One would be hard pressed to identify too many Gulf area businesses that did not endure some loss, small or large, that related in some way to the disaster. Whether a business is due $100 or $100,000 is immaterial. A loss is a loss and BP has agreed to compensate all those so affected. With today’s decision, the Supreme Court has confirmed this arrangement.

That said, less than 30% of all eligible businesses have filed claims. Of those who have filed, the average payment exceeds $100,000.

All businesses in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, whether in the tourism industry or not, should be evaluated by an attorney experienced in navigating the BP claims process. Failure to do so may mean leaving six figures or more on the table.

The only businesses that cannot participate are casinos, insurance companies, banks and real estate developers. All others are eligible to qualify if they experienced a loss.

If you are not in one of the excluded industries, you are foolish not to explore this compensation opportunity. In fact, the program’s Claims Administrator, Patrick Juneau, told The Times-Picayune “When in doubt, file a claim.”

From The Times-Picayune article:

“To make his point, Juneau ticked off a list of claimants who were recently awarded a settlement: a farmer in Monroe, a clothing store in Baton Rouge, a construction company in north Louisiana. He said reams of businesses not usually associated with oiled birds and tar-stained beaches may be eligible: churches and nonprofit agencies; private schools; machine shops and car dealerships.

“Juneau said the universe of eligible claimants is far broader than most people assume. Any individual in the Gulf that can demonstrate a defined financial loss around the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster can make a claim, and ‘essentially any kind of business at all,’ he said.”

To be sure, only those who experienced a loss of profits or earnings relating in any way to, directly or indirectly, the Deepwater Horizon Incident will be compensated. It just so happens that a majority of regional businesses had such an unfortunate experience.

If you have not been evaluated, do so today. The clock is ticking.

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