NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court Monday refused to reconsider its previous ruling that businesses don’t have to prove they were directly harmed by BP’s 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could be a step toward resuming a claims process that was suspended after a district court ruling in December. However, BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement Monday night that the company is considering its legal options.
BP had asked the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to rehear the case after a three-judge panel’s March ruling. The court voted 8-5 against a rehearing.
Action preserves ruling
The action preserves U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling that BP had agreed in a 2012 settlement to pay claims without requiring proof that losses were directly caused by the spill resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers.
Judge Leslie Southwick wrote in Monday’s order that a 2012 policy statement, issued by the court-appointed claims administrator and developed with “input and assent from BP,” spelled out the criteria for claims.
“Instead of direct evidence of a causal connection between the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the claimant’s business losses, the Exhibit described four geographic zones, several types of businesses, formulae for presenting economic losses, and various presumptions regarding causation that apply to specific combinations of those criteria.”
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