Boteler Finley and Wolfe BP Oil Spill Settlement Claims Resources


Knox Boteler of BF&W has been involved in the ongoing litigation concerning the BP Oil Spill since shortly after April 20, 2010. BP and Plaintiffs have now settled an Economic and Property Damage Class Complaint (“Class Complaint”) that was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana as a result of the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. The Class Complaint alleged several federal statutory and maritime claims on behalf of businesses, property owners, fisherman, and thousands more. On May 2, 2012, the Court preliminary approved this Settlement Agreement. You review the complete proposed Settlement Agreement by clicking here.

The 1,000 page Settlement Agreement generally covers six (6) types of claims: 1) any individual or business that asserts an economic loss, 2) damage to waterfront property, 3) loss of value to anyone that sold a Gulf Coast waterfront residence during the time May 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010, 4) loss of subsistence use, 5) vessels of opportunity charter claims, and 6) seafood harvesting loss. In addition, there is a separate class settlement providing for medical claims.

Business Economic Loss Claims can be submitted by individuals and businesses that are eligible class members (banking, insurance, a few other industries are excluded). With the exception of the Seafood Program, Economic Loss Claims will be calculated on a number of factors including, but not limited to: type of business, geographic location, and the nature of the loss claimed. This class area is divided into four (4) zones. Business and individuals have either causation presumptions or other requirements for causation depending upon geographical location and business/employer type. Alabama and Mississippi’s economic zones can be found here. Though not all of Alabama and Mississippi appear on the map, those areas not included are considered to be in Zone D. It is not necessary to have already filed a claim to qualify.

Coastal Real Property Damage claimants include owners and lessees of real property and boat slips during the time period from April 20, 2010 through December 31, 2010. Qualified claimants can make claims for damage to property located in defined geographical areas. Alabama’s Coastal Property compensation zones included in the settlement can be found here. Under the proposed settlement, the property is categorized based on official reports as to the type of property and whether oil was detected on the property. Depending upon that category, the compensation is based upon a factor applied to the tax assessor appraised value of the property. In addition, owners and lessees of Coastal real or personal property that was physically damaged by the spill response cleanup operations can make claims for Response Operations Damages.

Vessels of Opportunity Claims (VOO) The recently announced class action settlement in the BP Oil Spill litigation includes claims for owners of vessels registered with the Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program. The VOO program was initiated by BP after the oil spill and was intended to allow local vessel owners an opportunity to participate in the oil spill clean up operations. The registered vessels were required to be on “stand-by” and the owners had to complete extensive training in advance of receiving a VOO contract. However, many vessels that were registered with the program were either never called into service or used sparingly. Also, some vessels suffered damages in the clean-up operation. In the lawsuit VOO owners claimed that their contract with BP called for payment whether the vessel was put into operation or not and required payment for a specified “usage” period. They also claimed that BP had agreed to compensate vessel owners for any damges to the vessels incurred during the clean-up operations.

Under the proposed settlement, all vessel owners who executed VOO Master Vessel Charter Agreements and completed the initial VOO training program are entitled to compensation under the terms of the BP Settlement Agreement. The fact a vessel owner has previously executed a release of liability against BP or other responsible parties for other claims does not matter. Compensation is determined based on whether the vessel was placed “on-hire” and participated in the program or “on-standby”. All VOO vessel owners will get a specified standard charter rate for a set number of days.

Claims and Payments via the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). In the next few weeks, a “Court Supervised Settlement Program” or “Settlement Program” will be established to receive, evaluate, and pay claims made by members of the Business Economic Class. Mr. Kenneth Feinberg will not be involved with the Settlement Program. During the interim, victims of the oil spill claims may still accept 60% of their proven loss under the old GCCF guidelines. The remaining 40% will be calculated once the Settlement Program has reviewed the claim. You will be paid, upon executing a full and final release, the greater of the remaining 40% of your GCCF offer or your Settlement Payment. If a business has already accepted a final payment, and not just a partial payment, from the GCCF and executed a full and final release then no claim can be made under the proposed class settlement.

Alabama and Mississippi Economic Zone Maps

Mobile County, Alabama – Real Property Settlement Maps

Baldwin County, Alabama – Real Property Settlement Maps

Full-Resolution Economic Zone and Real Property Settlement Maps (PDF)

PDF: Map of Economic Zone Maps for Alabama

PDF: Map of Economic Zone Maps for Mississippi

PDF: Maps of Real Property Settlement Maps