Claims against BP continue to wash in--three years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Now BP is asking a judge to suspend settlement payments after accusing a mobile claims office of fraud. Lawyers say BP can't go back on its settlement.
At the Long and Waite law firm employees sort through documents. They carefully enter data into online forms right now this firm has 200 clients who want money from BP. Attorneys here say it's better to have representation than to file without a lawyer.
"BP is appealing every claim they can, and when that happens its litigation there are claims memorandum, deadlines," says law firm partner Bennett Long. The claims process has been going on for years - remember the long lines of people waiting at claims offices many got money and some didn't. Now, three years after the spill claims process can even include people and companies who weren't directly impacted. BP went back to court two weeks ago to change that--but the judge shot them down for trying to back out of the original and rather broad settlement agreement.
"[BP] agreed to this deal, now they're trying to back out of it, I don't feel any sympathy for them I don't think anyone else should either," says law firm partner Dean Waite. The formula for business to meet is complex, but here's a basic summary. A plaintiff should show receipts from 2007 to 2009 if they can. Then show a loss in 2010. Then show an uptick in 2011 and you could qualify for a claim. It is assumed the loss is because of the oil spill under this agreement. BP agreed to this for stability.
"Whey wanted finality and certainty rather than having to deal with thousands upon thousands of individual lawsuits," says Waite. Filing documents can lead to a financial payout. So how much can be had this late--three years after the spill? Dean Waite says settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to the six figures.