The frustrating battle continues for many South Mississippians waiting to be paid by BP. Wednesday, one local business owner who has been expecting a settlement check instead received a letter from BP stating the company is appealing the settlement they already agreed to.
"We smelled oil. We saw tar balls. We had toxic crews in front of the restaurant," Salute Italian Restaurant owner Rob Stinson said. "People where canceling reservations left and right. Obviously we were affected."
Stinson said the BP oil spill of 2010 cost his business to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. After years of going back and forth with BP, Stinson thought he was finally going to be able to put the oil spill behind him.
"We came to an agreement with the claims facility, who is an appointee of the courts to work out arrangements," Stinson said. "Was it as much as I hoped for? No, but it was what we thought was fair, and now BP is appealing that. I have heard this can happen, but it's just upsetting."
Stinson is not alone, according to attorney Matthew Mestayer, who is handling hundreds of BP claims.
"Unfortunately, it's very typical," Mestayer said. "BP is still trying to slow the process down. In our opinion, they are still trying to convince people not to file that should file, and they are definitely doing everything they can to slow the process down."
Although Mestayer said he has not seen BP win an appeal yet, "The good news is the appeals process is relatively quick. It usually resolves in about 60 days."
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