BP will seek review by the US Supreme Court of the Fifth Circuit decisions relating to the compensation of claims for losses with no apparent connection to the Deepwater Horizon spill. In addition, BP will ask the Fifth Circuit not to issue its mandate until the Supreme Court has considered the matter. Suspension of the mandate would keep the stay of business economic loss payments in place during that time.
BP’s decision to seek Supreme Court review comes after a sharply divided Fifth Circuit denied BP’s request for rehearing. The dissenting opinions emphasize that the issues raised by BP “present questions of exceptional importance,” reflect a deep divide in approaches among the federal appellate courts, and merit Supreme Court review. The Constitution and established class action law preclude certification of a class that includes substantial numbers of claimants who were not harmed by the spill and thus lack standing to bring suit.
If the Fifth Circuit’s erroneous ruling were allowed to stand, it would fundamentally redefine the prerequisites for class membership. That, in turn, will surely alter the calculus for companies in determining whether to enter into class action settlements or engage in protracted litigation that would delay compensation for true victims.
No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement. BP will continue to fight to return the settlement to its original, explicit, and lawful purpose – the compensation of claimants who suffered actual losses due to the spill.