NEW ORLEANS — Legal-Bay LLC, The Lawsuit Settlement Funding Company, believes the British Petroleum Inc. Business Economic Loss (BEL) claims settlement will eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court under a writ of certiorari.
Legal-Bay said the issues revolve around constant legal wrangling by B.P. to drastically alter the landmark settlement, by claiming that the settlement is not being interpreted correctly, and is therefore unconstitutional to allow claimants to collect money in which no financial injury has actually occurred.
The legal appeals and opinions by the appellate judges have been complex and at times conflicting, said Legal-Bay, with at least three judges at some point favoring B.P. on “partial issues.” However in New Orleans, U.S. District Court Judge Barbier has been the one constant who believes B.P.’s tactics are “disappointing” based on the spirit of the negotiations — which was to assist a large number of businesses and settle on a “global” level to avoid lengthy litigation.
Through all of the uncertainties, Legal-Bay continues to fund all businesses waiting on B.P. settlement claim checks to be paid. This list includes law firms, CPA firms and all businesses in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas with claims pending in the B.P. Claim Center — considered to be opt-in cases.
Chris Janish, CEO of Legal-Bay, said, “The aggressive legal challenges by B.P. have scared off most B.P. pre-settlement funding companies due to constant uncertainty of when payments will be received. We are of the belief that the settlement has enough possible constitutional issues, and that the settlement appeal will eventually end up on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. The process will continue to be slow, and payments will be delayed. However, we strongly believe in the end that the settlement will not be drastically altered and B.P. will be compelled to live with the deal they signed.”
Legal-Bay has seen a dramatic rise in B.P. law firms and CPA firm applicants who have hundreds of millions ($100MM) of potential B.P. BEL settlements for clients and need operating cash to continue to run their firm until these fees are collected.
“Simply put, the law firms are keenly aware that the B.P. watershed is still far on the horizon and they need a life line to get them to the ultimate finish line,” said Janish.