A federal appeals court has halted BP settlement payments for oil spill damages to businesses “whose injuries are not traceable to the spill.”
The ruling by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals basically instituted a stay on payments by Patrick Juneau, the court-appointed settlement claims administrator, and follows many legal maneuvers by BP to change the way claims are being paid.
Area businesses with claims totaling millions of dollars face a six- to 12-month delay in payment, said Kevin McLean, a Tampa lawyer specializing in handling BP claims.
“Nothing is being paid,” he said. “I think the stay will remain. It’s exactly what (BP) wanted. It’s shocking.”
The appellate court ordered U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who signed off on the settlement reached in December 2012, to halt payment except for those claims for damages directly due to the 2010 oil spill.
“The stay covers the vast majority if not all claims, even those approved or on appeal,”McLean said. “If he lifts the stay, it will be only for a narrow category of claims.”
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