Class action plaintiffs who want to file economic and property claims in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill multidistrict litigation must do so by June 8. But Brent Coon of Brent Coon & Associates of Houston, who represents some 10,000 of those class members, is advising most of those clients not to file a claim; he has asked the court to extend a deadline, allowing his clients to opt out of the settlement.
Coon is telling the majority of his clients "to get out and take their chances [in court]," he said.
In that same vein, Coon filed a motion in the MDL in New Orleans federal court, asking the court to re-notice prospective class members. Coon wants the court to give them the opportunity to opt out of the settlement.
"The class was a good idea. But even good ideas can fail miserably," Coon said.
A BP spokesperson did not respond. Nor did Richard Godfrey of Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis, which defends the company.
Class counsel Stephen Herman, a partner in New Orleans' Herman, Herman & Katz, did not return a call.
In his motion, Coon argued that the class settlement has evolved from its original form and is now giving fewer class members damage awards.
In his motion, filed on April 16, Coon noted that a March 31, 2015, report by the MDL's claims administrator shows that only 35 out of 3,611 submissions for a failed business loss have been paid, only 634 out of 5,017 for startup business loss, and only 6,148 out of 44,022 for individual losses. In total, the class has only paid 87,833 claimants out of 205,450 submissions, with only 42,964 remaining to be processed.
Pending are appeal motions that BP filed, attempting to claw back "the relatively few claims that have been paid," Coon wrote.