(MOBILE, Ala.) It is not too late to get involved in a class action settlement with BP over the 2010 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Attorneys are pushing a federal judge in New Orleans to give final approval to a proposed class-action settlement of economic damage claims spawned by the disaster. A "fairness hearing" was held in New Orleans Thursday, which was an opportunity for some plaintiffs to object to certain parts of the settlement.
BP estimates it will pay out more than $7 billion dollars to resolve claims related to the spill, but attorneys said the estimated payout from BP could grow based on the amount of claims that are filed.
For Alabama businesses, it could mean years of payback whether or not they were hit by the oil spill.
Since BP and attorney's representing victims of the 2010 Oil Spill shook on a massive claims settlement a year later, Attorneys Dean Waite and Bennett Long said the process of repairing livelihoods has gone smoothly.
"To date, 70,000 claims have been filed, approximately," Bennett said. "Approximately $1.3 billion in claims have been paid."
Bennett said they represent a number of those claimants in the class-action suit, many of them not directly effected by the spill.
"That's one thing the class abides for. You do not have to have proof of direct damages from the spill."
Bennett said businesses who dealt with Ken Feinberg can get in on the lawsuit as well.
"Claimants that filed claims with the GCCF very well could still have a claim," Bennett said. "Claimants that were denied with the GCCF very well could still have a claim. It's a different set of parameters"
Attorney Dean Waite said those parameters are much more fair too, as any business in Alabama is eligible and can claim lost revenue since 2007.
"If you had loss of revenue in 2010, you don't have to prove that came from the oil spill, necessarily," Waite said. "If you meet the formula that it laid out in the settlement agreement, then you can file a claim and get paid."
The attorneys said businesses still have a year and half to get in on the class-action suit.
"There's time to move forward with this, and exhaust it to its fullest potential," Bennett said.