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May 29, 2014

Judge Dissolves ‘Stay’ on BP Oil Spill Settlement Payouts–Company Asks SCOTUS to Reimpose Stay

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected BP’s bid to stop questionable payouts from the Gulf Oil Spill settlement — and this week, the Court denied BP’s request to maintain the hold on payments while the company appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has dissolved a block on business oil spill claims payments hours after a federal appeals court ordered the stay affecting BP’s private damage settlement lifted,” reports WWLTV-New Orleans. “Claims administrator Patrick Juneau will be able to start processing business claims again for the first time since December now that Barbier has lifted the injunction.”

As of January 2014, more than 38,000 claims at an estimated $3.7 billion had already been paid out. Critics maintained that the settlement helped some firms with no connection to the oil spill receive large payouts, some in the millions of dollars. This includes a $173,000 payout to an adult escort service that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial records; and, $23.1 million paid to an alligator farm that earned profits the year of the spill after two previous years of losses.

“The company is now asking the Supreme Court to step in and reimpose the stay, arguing it will be irreparably harmed if the payments resume,” reports WWLTV. “And contending that the Supreme Court is likely to grant its appeal to be heard on the matter, two prerequisites for a stay to be reimposed.”

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