NEW ORLEANS — In a per curium order
on Feb. 9, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court's
denial of a company's claims against the Deepwater Horizon settlement
The company, identified only as an
automotive-parts provider and by claimant ID No. 100212278, had filed
business economic-loss claims with the Court Supervised Settlement
Program, but had been denied at every turn: by the CSSP, an appeal
panel and a district court.
The auto-parts provider sought
compensation as a "tourism business," which would have
relieved it of a “need to demonstrate loss causation,” according
to court documents.
It claimed that it accommodated or catered to the "needs or
wants of persons traveling to, or staying in, places outside their
home community,” the opinion stated.
However, the CSSP and appeal panel
determined that its stores were not tourism businesses and denied its
claims for failing to satisfy causation standards.
The Deepwater Horizon blast in 2010
killed 11 people, injured 115 others and dumped 4.9 million barrels
of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months. The disaster,
the worst oil spill in U.S. history, according to a report
on Brookings.edu, triggered an avalanche of lawsuits that were
litigated in federal court.
BP took responsibility for the spill
and has distributed millions of dollars in damages to affected
The 5th Circuit opinion
stated that the auto-parts provider's evidence that it was engaged in
accommodating or catering to the needs or wants of persons traveling
to, or staying in, places outside their home community — which
consisted of a website that displays a list of automotive-products
drivers should consider replacing before long trips and evidences
that it carries storage and cargo equipment primarily used by
vacationers — did not demonstrate that the appeal panel abused its
discretion in determining otherwise.
"BP contends that the appeal panel
correctly determined there was insufficient concrete evidence to show
that any of the specific stores in question qualified as a tourism
business," the opinion stated. "In particular, none of the
stores offers evidence regarding its actual sales of cargo equipment
or sales of products on the website’s list and none offers evidence
of sales to non-local customers as contemplated by the Settlement
The opinion further stated that the
"totality of the circumstances did not show the stores to be
"The appeal panel had expressly
considered the possibility that although the stores were not located
in tourist areas, they might incidentally serve some tourists while
pursuing their primary business as sellers of automotive parts and
accessories," the opinion said.
The 5th Circuit panel that included
Judges Thomas Reavley, Jennifer Elrod and James Graves Jr. found that
the district court’s denial of discretionary review did not
constitute an abuse of discretion.