On Monday June 9th the United States Supreme Court rejected a request from British Petroleum to stop payments to businesses affected by the Gulf Coat oil spill of 2010 while they appeal the settlement decision in court.
According to BP, failure to halt these payments would result in millions of dollars being awarded to claimants with no ties to the Gulf Coast disaster; however the court was obviously unpersuaded by this line of reasoning. The decision from the Supreme Court comes after a May 28th ruling from the 5th circuit court of appeals, who ruled 2-1 that BP must continue issuing payments to affected parties.
Since the Court declined BP’s request, they are now focusing their efforts on an appeal of the original ruling that ordered them to make payments in the first place. Experts are as of now divided on whether or not the Supreme Court will ultimately take up this appeal—those who argue they will point out that this case is a good opportunity for the Justices to rule on the issue of whether or not judges can consider large groups of people a “class”, even if some members of the group were not directly injured by the defendant’s conduct. This has been a contentious issue in the Federal courts, with six appellate courts arguing that judges cannot make this consideration, while two, including the 5th circuit, have argued that this is a legitimate action. Those who predict the Court won’t accept the case argue that since the Justices refused to even entertain the ruling there is little chance they will be willing to take on the entire appeal.
Since the court system can be notoriously slow, if the Justices were to hear the case there’s actually a possibility that BP would complete their required payments before the Supreme Court could even rule on the validity of their appeal.
If you’re currently dealing with BP oil spill settlement claims in Tampa please contact Frank Charles Miranda, P.A. We have helped numerous local business owners and professionals work their way through the judicial system to get the compensation they deserve and would be happy to help you do the same.