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In re Deepwater Horizon

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20042
Nos. 13-30315, (5th Cir., 03/03/2014)

The Fifth Circuit held that a settlement agreement providing a mechanism for presenting and processing claims for business losses caused by the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster does not require those submitting claims for certain business losses to provide evidence that the claim arose as a result of the oil spill. Under the agreement, each claimant must attest under penalty of perjury that the claim in fact was due to the disaster. The attestation applies to all assertions on the claims form, including the financial figures and other details, and suspicious forms will be subject to investigation. Although these requirements are not as protective of the oil company's present concerns as might have been achievable, they are the protections that were accepted by the parties and approved by the district court. It was a contractual concession by the company to limit the issue of factual causation in the processing of claims, and there is nothing fundamentally unreasonable about what the company accepted but now wishes it had not.