GCCF has resumed issuing paymentsJan 16th, 2012 | By William Dilella | Category: News
Following last week’s temporary freeze of claimants’ payments, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility resumed paying out settlements to claimants.
“In an Order and Reasons of the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana, dated December 28, 2011, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility [GCCF] was ordered to withhold 6 percent of any and all amounts determined to be paid to eligible GCCF claimants to be deposited into a Court supervised Escrow Account,” the official statement read.
That escrow account, which is to pay expenses for the Plaintiff Steering Committee, was cited in a previous letter from the GCCF as the source of the stall. The GCCF said it was awaiting further court input on how to address payments to this account while paying out to claimants who had settled since November 2011.
“In a letter dated January 3, 2012, the GCCF sought clarification of the Court’s Order and on January 4, 2011, the Court issued an Order clarifying and amending its previous Order insofar as it applied to payments or settlements made by the GCCF,” said the Claims Facility.
The Court order, signed by Judge Carl Barbier, had set certain amounts to be held from GCCF and BP settlements. In the updated order, Judge Barbier clarified exactly what percent would be withheld, and from which claimants:
“In response to the GCCF’s concerns, the Court clarifies and amends its previous order insofar as it applies to payments or settlements made by the GCCF:
• A 6 percent hold-back shall be applied to all prospective payments made to all claimants who were not issued a payment determination letter from the GCCF on or before December 30, 2011.
• The 6 percent hold-back does not apply to settlement payments (interim or final) made on or before December 30, 2011, nor does the hold-back apply to settlement offers contained within payment determination letters from the GCCF which were issued on or before December 30, 2011.”
The order comes following Barbier’s decision that claimants, regardless of their participation in litigation, or those who outright settled, because all plaintiffs benefitted from the work provided by the PSC, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in February 2011, that the GCCF, Ken Feinberg, and Feinberg Rozen, LLP were not to be considered or advertised as “neutral” or “independent” from BP.
“Considering the unique circumstances of this case, it would be unfair to allow parties to benefit from these activities of the PSC, but avoid contributing to the common benefit fund simply because they are able to settle directly with the GCCF and avoid filing a claim in the MDL,” Barbier said in his original order. “Other parties have filed lawsuits or claims in this MDL, but then withdrew their claims once they had settled with the GCCF. Again, such parties have likely benefited from all of the common benefit work performed by the PSC.”
Technically, another order is needed for PSC to actually take control of the money.