Today could be a big day for Gulf Coast residents and business. Attorneys from BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee hope to file the March Settlement in Principle with the court today for preliminary approval. Here are a few highlights of what the Settlement in Principle accomplishes:
- It establishes two classes of claims: one for economic and property damages and one for medical benefits. Plaintiffs can participate in either settlement program or both.
- It replaces the Gulf Coast Claims Facility with a new claims process, which is currently in a court-supervised transition period.
- It covers six broad categories of economic and property damage claims: Any individual or business that asserts it had an economic loss; Damage to waterfront property on the beachfront or wetland areas; Loss of Value to anyone that sold a Gulf Coast waterfront residence during the time May 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010; Loss of Subsistence Use; Vessels of Opportunity Charter Claims; and Seafood Harvesting Losses
- It establishes several ground rules, or guidelines, for how claims will be reviewed and valued, promoting transparency in the process
- It establishes that BP assumes the full financial obligation of the settlement—in other words, there is no monetary limit to what BP will be required to pay
- It establishes an appeals process for claimants who are not satisfied with the outcome of their claim or feel that the terms of the Settlement in Principle weren’t met
Of course, the Settlement in Principle is a lengthy and detailed legal document and over the next several days and weeks, more information about its terms is likely to come out. Individuals who have questions about the Settlement in Principle and how it affects them can turn to Businesses by the Beach.