Judge ruled BP must continue to pay business claims

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - BP will continue to have to pay businesses that prove the oil spill cost them money. Friday, a federal judge rejected BP's request to stop payouts to businesses.

The oil giant has already paid more than $8.7 billion in claims to individuals and businesses. And that's a billion dollars more than what the company estimated it would pay.

That's why Attorney Charles Allen with Mississippi Center for Legal Services, who specializes in BP claims, believes the company is trying to stop payments to business owners.

"The payout for businesses have been large, larger than they forecasted, larger than they thought they were agreeing to," Allen said. "They went back to the judge and appealed their own agreement saying it had been loosely interpreted and should be more strictly interpreted."

There is no cap to what BP must pay in claims. Company Attorney Rick Godfrey has said he believes the claims administrator is being too generous.

"We think it rewrites the contract. We think it rewards people who have no losses," Godfrey said.

But the judge disagreed and Allen said that is good news for businesses.

"When BP appealed the judges ruling, it froze those claims. But the judge has opened the door again," Allen said.

Some of his clients, Allen said, have lost up to half a million dollars because of the spill.

"People who used to do construction for casinos or other large businesses, major renovations. They had a ten, 15 year work history. And then in 2010 everything they had going stopped after the spill.

Now Allen is hopeful his clients and other business owners will be able to get the compensation they deserve.

After the ruling, BP Spokesman Scott Dean said the company "will evaluate how to proceed to protect our rights and prevent continued meritless awards."

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