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BP oil settlement in jeopardy

The saga of the 2010 BP oil spill seemed to have come to an end after the parties reached a settlement last year. The uncapped class-action settlement was set to bring relief to individuals and businesses who were injured from the oil spill. Now, however, a new dispute threatens to undo the entire deal.

The dispute surrounds potential business claims, rather than claims from individuals. BP takes issue with the method used to calculate the profit losses of business claimants. According to BP, the numbers could be manipulated in a way that leads to errors in measuring actual lost profits. Last month, a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the oil company and implemented a new standard for damage calculations in order to remedy the problem. Now BP wants to push the court further and have the settlement terms for businesses changed to reflect the oil company's interpretation.

BP is not alone in its criticism of the December 2012 settlement. Attorney Brent Coon believes that there is too much guess work involved in determining who is eligible for settlement funds. BP's spokesman Geoff Morrell stated these problems could endanger the entire settlement and prevent its certification. Settlement funds began being issued on July 31, 2012 and, to date, approximately $4.9 billion has been received by claimants.

Offshore accidents like this one can cause years of medical problems for injured workers. There is hope for those who suffered injury from the oil spill lack the ability to pay for their medical bills. Under the Jones Act, negligent ship owners may be held liable for the health and care of injured workers.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "BP back in court Monday to appeal multi-billion dollar settlement terms," Nov. 3, 2013

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