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Texas Hotel Owners Not Satisfied WIth BP Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

According to a recent article featured in the Houston Chronicle, many owners of small hotels along the Gulf Coast are expressing their dissatisfaction with the proposed oil spill settlement because it unfairly excludes thousands in the tourism industry who suffered loss as a result of the 2010 BP Gulf Coast oil spill. Hotel owner's associations claim that the settlement is composed of arbitrary geographic boundaries. For example, the settlement covers the entire coast of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, but only covers portions of Texas and Florida.

Sources say that hundreds of hotel owners marched on BP’s west Houston headquarters on August 23 in order to protest the geographic provisions of the settlement. Sources say that BP officials acknowledged the protest but refused to meet and discuss the settlement. Legal authorities say the settlement allows claims from the upper Texas coastal counties of Jefferson, Orange, Chambers and Galveston, and from 20 counties on the Gulf coast of Florida.

Reportedly, BP and the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee agreed in March on a tentative class action settlement to cover economic and medical damages suffered by coastal individuals and businesses. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is set to determine whether the BP settlement provides reasonable compensation for the class. Reportedly, potential participants in the class action have until October 1 to decide whether to join the class action or opt out and pursue their claims as part of a trial before Barbier set to begin in January. According to the article, the settlement acknowledges that the January trial will cover claims for people and businesses outside of the geographic bounds set in the agreement.

Reportedly, the settlement is divided into four sectors which make those who within them eligible for compensation. According to the proposed settlement, claims from Zone A, which includes sections of coast hardest hit by the spill, fall under the presumption category, which means claimants there don't have to prove the spill caused the damages. However, Zone A claimants must prove their amount of damages. Sources say that in Zones B, C and D, businesses must meet additional requirements, including causation, and must provide comprehensive accounting records for each month. Most of the eligible areas in Texas and Florida, along with inland regions in other states, are in Zone D. According to the hotel owners, the settlement places an unfair burden of proof on the travel industry even if they are located within the zones of recovery.

If you have questions about the BP Oil Spill settlement, contact the gulf spill claim attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm for a free and private claim consultation and evaluation toll free at 1-877-892-2797 or locally at 713-864-1941 or on our BP Oil Spill claim page here.