At The Brod Law Firm, we serve those impacted by environmental disasters in San Francisco and throughout Northern California. Our San Francisco class action attorney can handle cases in both federal and state courts in the state. We keep informed about important cases throughout the nation so that we can better serve our local communities when similar issues arise in our jurisdiction.
One of the biggest environmental disasters in recent years was the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked at a nine year old offshore drilling unit that was being leased and operated by BP. Within a couple of days, an oil slick appeared near the rig, confirming fears that the explosion had caused a leak. Before the leak was stemmed, approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico waters. Industries and individuals in several states suffered significant economic losses as a result of the spill and the clean-up effort. Health concerns remain an issue for Gulf coast residents.
The oil spill resulted in multiple lawsuits, including individual and class claims against BP. The filing deadline for the existing Quick Payment program has recently been extended from May 7 to June 11. Pursuant to the program, individual claimants are eligible for a $5,000 payment and businesses can receive $25,000. By filing a claim and receiving a payment pursuant to the Quick Payment program, claimants waive the right to any future claims stemming from the 2010 disaster with the exception of those related to injury or death.
Authorities overseeing the resolution of claims are in the process of phasing out the existing Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”). Instead of the GCCF, claims will be handled by a Court-Supervised Settlement Program. This program is part of a settlement agreement applicable to more than 100,000 claimants and is a portion of the resolution to two class actions against BP. It is designed to determine and remedy both individual and business losses stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident via a court-supervised process. In setting forth the terms of the process, United States District Judge Carl Barbier has implemented a filing deadline of either April 22, 2014 or six months from the effective date of the settlement.
Pursuant to the court-supervised program, individual claim amounts will be calculated by estimating the difference between projected earnings and actual earnings for the period between May 2010 and either December 2010 or April 2011, depending on the industry involved. Additional awards to individual claimants will account for costs of lost health insurance and pension benefits, as well as the costs involved in job searches or re-training necessitated by the spill. Existing businesses will be compensated based on profit losses that lasted for three or more consecutive months in the eight month period following the spill and also based on comparing profits to growth trends at the industry and economy-wide levels. The court-supervised program also sets forth guidance for compensating failed start-up businesses, successful start-ups that may have been limited by the spill, and losses impacting multi-facility businesses.
As a Northern California toxic tort law firm, we are prepared to help should an environmental disaster akin to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact our region. Our San Francisco oil and gas lawyer will continue to follow the lawsuits stemming from the 2010 tragedy so that our team can better serve local individuals and businesses that may be harmed by a spill in the Pacific waters or by another industrial accident that results in similar economic and/or health damages.