Local Businesses May Be Eligible To Recover Money From The BP Oil Spill

By Kathy L. Collins

When the BP oil spill occurred on April 20, 2010, residents living in Gulf Coast states watched and worried about their livelihoods. In an unprecedented move, BP has established a claims process whereby any business located within one of four zones along the Gulf of Mexico can submit a claim for recovery of lost profits.

Brandon attorney, Rory Weiner, has partnered with the Economic Recovery Group (ERG Law Firm) to help business clients with BP oil spill claims. Weiner said, “The Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program is available to help businesses recover lost profits. Most businesses in eastern Hillsborough assume that because they are not near the coastline, the BP settlement does not apply to them. It does, and I want them to know about it and make a claim.”

All businesses, no matter the size, must be made aware of the claims process. Businesses must gather the appropriate documents and have their claim submitted by April 22, 2014.

According to Weiner, “A business must gather financial records (tax returns and profit/loss statements) from 2009 (preferable to go back to 2007) through 2011. Once they submit a claim with my firm and provide the documentation, they will get an answer about eligibility and an amount in one to two months; once a claim is submitted, the money is usually available between four to six months.”

There is no attorney fee or costs assessed unless your claim is successful. If a business does recover damages, then a 25 percent contingency fee and processing costs are assessed.

Weiner explained, “Most businesses in the Brandon area are in Zone D (extends to halfway between Plant City and Lakeland). This has the most strict formula since we are further inland. Zone A, composed of barrier islands, has no financial test to meet. The formula looks at your 2010 revenue for a specific three month period between May and December 2010 to see if your business was down 15 percent from the same three month period in 2009 or an average of those months in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The formula then looks at whether the business revenue in 2011 for the same three month period has rebounded at least 10 percent from the 2010 low.”

According to Weiner, “Some small businesses in this area have qualified for $14,000, $85,000 and as much as $500,000.”

Weiner is a Board Certified Specialist in Business Litigation Law and his office is located at 671 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. Visit www.RoryWeiner.com for more information.