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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.

This appeal involves a Start-Up Business Economic Loss Claim filed by a Miramar Beach, Florida real estate agent. The Claims Administrator (CA) denied the claim, finding that Claimant did not operate before April 20, 2010. Claimant appeals.

Policy 362 requires the CA and the Appeal Panel to determine when a business began operating by looking at the “totality of the circumstances”. Here, Claimant had $257.00 in business-related expenses in March 2010 and $649.00 in April 2010. While this may not appear to be significant expenses, Claimant’s counsel points out that a new real estate agent going to work for a real estate broker does not typically incur large start-up expenses. The largest expenses would be related to course study to pass the Florida real estate licensing exam and the cost of the license (and related requirements) itself. Here, Claimant passed the licensing exams and was licensed as a real estate agent on April 8, 2010. She immediately went to work as commissioned real estate agent with [XXXXX] prior to the spill. Claimant’s 2010 P&L’s show that she earned sales commissions in April and each month thereafter in 2010.

After de novo review of the record in this matter, this Panelist finds that Claimant was “operating” prior to April 20, 2010. The CA should therefore process this claim per the terms of the Settlement Agreement.

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