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BP Court Document: Judge Barbier's Causation Ruling
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BP Court Document: Judge Barbier's Causation Ruling

Editor's Note: Below is an Order issued by United States District Court Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana. In the following paragraphs, Judge Barbier explains his denial of BP's motion to reconsider the methods for determining whether a business can qualify for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP).

BP has attempted to rewrite the terms of its settlement by calling for additional proof that a claimant's loss was the result of the oil spill. The concept is known as "causation," and the methods used to determine whether a loss was caused by the spill were painstakingly negotiated over a period of months and memorialized in a 1,200 page Settlement Agreement. Now BP has buyer's remorse and wishes to change the rules.

*Certain cites, footnotes and other references have been removed for formatting purposes.*

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 

EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA 

In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig 

          "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf 

          of Mexico, on April 20, 2010 

Applies To: 

All Cases and 12-970 


MDL 2179 

SECTION J 

JUDGE BARBIER 

MAG. JUDGE SHUSHAN 

ORDER

Before the Court is BP's Motion to Amend Scheduling Order re BEL Remand and Preliminary Injunction Relating to BEL Claims, as well as the Court's Order of November 15, 2013, which denied BP's motion. The Court hereby amends its November 15, 2013 Order to provide its reasons for denying BP's motion, which are set forth below.

Background
On October 2, 2013, in Docket No. 13-30315, a panel of the Fifth Circuit remanded to this Court for taking of additional evidence and reconsideration of what it found to be certain ambiguous provisions of the Settlement Agreement dealing with Business Economic Loss ("BEL") claims. 

The Fifth Circuit also directed this Court to issue a "narrowly tailored" preliminary injunction pending its deliberate reconsideration of the BEL issue. In response, on October 3, 2013, this Court issued an interim order staying certain BEL claims, and invited the parties to submit proposals for a formal preliminary injunction order. On October 18, 2013, the Court issued a preliminary injunction order enjoining the Claims Administrator from paying or processing certain BEL claims pending resolution of the remand proceedings. Despite the Court's October 18, 2013 Order confirming that "the issue of how causation is determined was not before the Fifth Circuit in the recent BEL appeal" and "Exhibit 4B of the Settlement Agreement is not before the undersigned on remand," BP nevertheless filed a Motion to Amend Scheduling Order re BEL Remand and Preliminary Injunction Relating to BEL Claims on November 7, 2013, requesting the Court to consider evidence regarding the "causal-nexus issue" and to amend the preliminary injunction to enjoin the Claims Administrator and the Settlement Program from paying any BEL claim unless the Claims Administrator has determined an "actual causal connection" between a claimant's loss and the Oil Spill. Class Counsel filed an opposition, followed by a reply by BP and a sur-reply by Class Counsel. The Court issued a short order denying BP's attempt to inject the issue of causation into the pending remand proceedings. Although the BEL issue is presently unresolved and pending before this Court following remand from the Fifth Circuit, BP has now filed a Notice of Appeal seeking an "emergency appeal" to the Fifth Circuit, and asking that this new appeal be consolidated with the pending BEL appeal in Docket No. 13-30315. At the same time, BP has made another document dump into the record of this case, without leave of court and apparently without consulting with opposing counsel. 

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