BP is rightfully blamed for the events causing the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig and the disastrous oil spill that resulted. However, other companies also bear some responsibility for the tragic disaster. Halliburton and Transocean each entered into separate settlement agreements that combine to pay $1,239,750,000 to impacted businesses and individuals. Claimants will be grouped into two different classes:
- The New Class will receive punitive damages associated with the oil spill based on physical damages to real and personal property and, to a lesser extent, losses related to commercial fishing, charter boat operations, and subsistence fishing.
- The Old Class consists of hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals who previously filed compensable claims with the BP Settlement Program.
The approved distribution model will pay the lion’s share – 72.8 percent – to the New Class while the Old Class will receive the remaining 27.2 percent. Compensation for New Class members will be based on the base loss calculated under the BP Settlement (excluding the RTP multiplier) or, for those excluded claims, according to a claim-specific methodology. Old Class members’ compensation will be determined on a pro-rata basis according to how much an eligible claimant received from the BP Settlement Program.
Thus, the BP Settlement Program must first finish processing all its claims before compensation from the Transocean & Halliburton settlements is determined. Although our lawyers do not have any precise figures, they expect these New and Old Class members to receive pennies on the dollar compared to what was paid under the BP Settlement. Nonetheless, it is good to see all responsible parties held accountable for their actions.