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April 26, 2012

BP Settlement Hearing: Judge Barbier says he is "leaning" towards preliminary approval

The Honorable Carl Barbier, the U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the BP Deepwater Horizon litigation, said in a hearing yesterday that he will likely grant preliminary approval of the multibillion dollar settlement submitted to the court on April 18, 2012. The settlement was reached between the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) for the BP multidistrict litigation and BP. When approved, it will resolve thousands of claims involving economic and property damage losses, as well as spill exposure and cleanup-related physical injury claims.

Two separate proposed classes settled under the agreement submitted for court approval—an economic and property damages class and a medical benefits class. The settlement also established separate claims programs for each proposed class. Barbier said in the hearing that he would issue a ruling in the coming days or weeks.

"It's a very complex case, it's a very complex settlement, but again, I remind people this is just the starting point, it's not the ending point of the court deciding whether to approve the settlement," Barbier was quoted as saying in a The Times-Picayune article.

Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice, who serves on the BP MDL PSC and is a lead negotiator of the settlement, made a presentation at the hearing specifically focusing on the separate $2.3 billion Seafood Compensation Fund that was established under the settlement, detailing how the Seafood Compensation Fund's dollar amount was determined and how those with eligible claims will be compensated.

Read the full articles featured by Bloomberg Businessweek and The Times-Picayune.

Motley Rice lawyers are working to assist business owners, seafood processors, wetland property owners, cleanup workers and other people with losses related to the oil spill. Please contact Motley Rice lawyers Kevin Dean or John Baden by email or at 1.800.216.9170 if you would like to talk about the proposed classes and your rights under the settlement.

Read more about the BP oil spill settlements.