Local Attorney Spearheading Class Action Claims Against BP
September 18, 2012 by Joyce Owen
Millions of dollars in claims were awarded in Walton County since the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Lots of individuals and businesses who suffered losses have been left high and dry. Some are still waiting, some are fighting, and some have given up.
One local businessman and advocate for the citizens of Walton County wants to get the word out that the fight isn't over yet. If you've been denied or given up, Attorney Scott Carruthers has set up an office next to the Seagrove Village Market Cafe and he wants to talk to you.
The Deepwater Horizon Settlement, supervised by a federal judge in New Orleans, was announced June 4, 2012. This settlement defines a geographical area from Texas to the Florida Keys and everyone that lives in the designated areas is included. While some class action settlements require claimants to make the decision to opt in, claimants must opt out.
While claims can be filed until April 2014, the time to opt out of the class action settlement is Nov. 1, 2012.
Those who lived, worked or owned property in zone A don’t have to prove that the BP oil spill caused a loss, as there is an automatic presumption of loss, Scott says. In South Walton, zone A is the area on or south of U.S. Highway 98.
For economic losses, people can go back to earnings from 2007 to determine the benchmark for a claim. The terms of the settlement also recognize that the loss has an affect beyond the time immediately following the oil spill and a multiplier will be used to determine the amount of the payment.
Funds were included to notify the public about the settlement, but Scott doesn’t see the activity that existed when GCCF was accepting and paying claims. There was a buzz about the payments some people received, which spurred others to file claims. Although the settlement process began in June, Scott says no claims were paid for the first two months and even now he anticipates it will probably take three months for a claim to be paid.
“We need to get the word out. BP is betting that folks won’t file,” Scott says. “The way it is set up, people will lose their rights for a settlement without ever knowing they had them.”
If you didn’t file before or were denied, now is the time to determine whether you want to be in the settlement.
Why would someone want to opt out? For about 80 percent of the claims the formulaic plan will work, Scott says, but for the other 20 percent, those people might not want to be a part of this settlement.
To find out if you are eligible to file a claim, contact Scott Carruthers at 850-766-1471 or go to www.BPbucks.com for more information.
He takes cases on a contingency basis, if there’s no recovery of losses, there’s no fee.
Additional information including zone maps and how to determine your zone is available at www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com