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May 4, 2012

Preliminary Approval Granted: BP Class Action Settlements

U.S. District Judge Barbier has granted preliminary approval of two class action settlements that were reached between BP and the BP MDL Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC). One of the settlements deals with economic and property damages claims, and the other deals with medical claims.

The Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program covering economic and property damage losses will begin operating on June 4, 2012, and qualified claims will be paid immediately.

Certain benefits the Medical Benefits Settlement provides-namely, compensation for qualifying specified physical conditions and the periodic medical consultation program benefit -will not become available unless and until the Medical Benefits Settlement receives final approval and the effective date occurs. The Gulf Region Health Outreach Program benefit provided for under the Medical Benefits Settlement, however, will begin immediately.

Read the Preliminary Approval Order for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement.

Read the Preliminary Approval Order for the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Settlement.

Judge Barbier says in his order granting preliminary approval for the Economic and Property Damages Settlement that "[a]t this stage, the Settlement Agreement appears fair, has no obvious deficiencies, does not improperly grant preferential treatment to the Class Representative or to segments of the Class, and does not grant excessive compensation to attorneys. It falls within the range of possible judicial approval."

Regarding preliminary approval of the Medical Benefits Settlement, he said that the settlement "is fair, reasonable, and adequate based on the Court's preliminary inquiry . . . is the result of protracted and intense negotiations conducted by the parties at arms' length and in good faith, and is not the result of collusion."

Judge Barbier has scheduled the fairness hearing for Nov. 8, 2012.

As quoted in an article in Bloomberg, Motley Rice's Joe Rice, who also serves on the BP MDL PSC as a lead negotiator of the settlement, reminded the Court at an April 25, 2012, hearing that "[t]here is no cap on the settlement."  The settlements require BP to pay all eligible claims under the terms of the court supervised settlements, which will resolve thousands of claims for economic and property damage, as well as claims related to physical injuries caused by exposure to the spill or dispersants used in the cleanup efforts.

Read more about the preliminary approval of the BP settlements and the settlement terms in articles featured by Bloomberg and The Times-Picayune.

Motley Rice lawyers are working to assist business owners, those in the seafood and tourism industries, wetland property owners, cleanup workers and others with losses related to the oil spill. Please contact Motley Rice lawyers John Baden or Kevin Dean by email or at 1.800.216.9170 if you would like to talk about the two classes and your rights under the settlements.

Read more about the BP oil spill settlements and claims programs.