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Private Equity and Venture Capital: Court Expands Region That May Qualify for Settlement Funds from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


In May 2012, a federal court in New Orleans expanded the region in which businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill may qualify for a settlement. The expanded region that may qualify under the settlement now covers the west coast of Florida, the northeast coast of Texas, and all of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Businesses in these locations, as well as organizations headquartered outside of this region but with local offices in the affected regions, may not be aware that their local offices or business interests may qualify for a portion of the settlement proceeds.

How to Qualify:
If your office or business, or a portfolio company’s office or business, is located in an area hit hardest by the oil spill and in a certain zone, causation is presumed and you can begin preparing economic loss damages for a claim. If this business is outside of that zone, you must submit documentation showing a drop in income in 2010 compared to income from periods prior to the oil spill as well as an increase in income after the oil spill.
To prove the changes in income, business owners must provide three specific items:

  • You must identify a “compensation period” of three consecutive months between May and December in 2010.
  • A proven decline in revenue during the time of the oil spill must be proven during the compensation period relative to one of the following three periods:
    • The same three months in 2009
    • The average of 2008 and 2009
    • The average of 2007 through 2009
  • To show that business income increased after the oil spill, you must demonstrate that income improved during the same months as those in the compensation period.

This financial information must be provided through federal tax returns and profit and loss statements from 2007 through 2011. Documents reflecting the business structure and ownership of the business claimant, documentation of payment received or costs incurred from BP, and a W-9 form are required.
Deadline: The statute of limitations for these claims runs until April 20, 2014. Therefore, businesses must act fast, as it is expected that the settlement funds may be depleted before that date.

Answers to frequently asked questions may be found here.

What Does CohnReznick Think?
When businesses experience business interruption losses due to accidents or natural disasters, the financial losses associated with the interruption of business activities can be significant. These losses are only compounded by stretched human resources and a strain on the financial condition of a business. However, it is during such times that compensation settlements for such losses can provide much-needed relief to afflicted businesses that qualify. Therefore, although the process for applying for relief can often be daunting at a time when losses are significant and resources are stretched thin, it is during these exact times that properly developing and filing the documentation required to file a claim for recovery of damages is important.

For additional information, or to discuss how CohnReznick Advisory Group can assist you in recovering business interruption damages, please contact:

Circular 230 Notice: In compliance with U.S. Treasury Regulations, the information included herein (or in any attachment) is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of i) avoiding penalties the IRS and others may impose on the taxpayer or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax related matters.

This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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