SARASOTA, FL – Attorneys with the law firm of Kirk-Pinkerton, PA and Motley Rice, LLC have filed a BP claim on behalf of the City of Sarasota asking the oil company to pay for $15 million worth of alleged lost revenue and economic damages resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Sarasota’s claim is one of the largest municipal claims in the region and a big deal for Bill Robertson and Steven Teppler, the Kirk-Pinkerton attorneys serving as co-counsel on the case.
“Our firm has been processing BP claims since the spill occurred and we are honored that the city has entrusted their claim to us,” said Robertson, a Sarasota native with over 28 years of litigation experience.
City officials voted during last week’s regular commission meeting to file a claim after Commission Shannon Snyder argued that the potential benefit to taxpayers was too great to ignore.
“When it’s this kind of money for the taxpayer, you can’t turn it away,” said Snyder, noting that the money could help Sarasota’s struggling economy by allowing the city to avoid raising taxes for several years.
The 77-page civil complaint alleges gross misconduct on behalf of BP and Halliburton and argues that Sarasota took a considerable hit in tourism revenue as a result of the spill.
“The long-term effect of the spill on our local economy remains to be seen, but we know we had at least 7 months where people just didn’t come here,“ said Robertson of the period between May and December of 2010 when residents and tourists waited to see if oil would wash ashore our beaches.
Even though oil never appeared, Robertson explains that many local businesses, including building and construction firms, realtors, medical practices, marinas, hospitality-related businesses, and even law firms, may have a claim under a class action settlement agreement if they can show a decline in revenue during a 15 month benchmark period, followed by an uptick in revenue, in the months following the spill. The deadline for filing claims under the settlement agreement is April 2014.
Municipalities were not permitted to file under the settlement agreement and had until Saturday to file claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Attorneys had to work quickly to prepare the city’s claim.
“With the statute of limitations on the OPA about to expire and so much at stake, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” said Teppler, who hand-delivered the claim to the U.S. District Court office in Tampa on Friday to meet the deadline.
Robertson is optimistic that the claim will be settled out of court, but admits that it could be dragged out for several years.
He says taxpayers will not be on the hook to cover any of the legal costs associated with pursuing the claim unless damages are recovered. Any money that the city receives will be put into the general fund.
In addition to Sarasota, Kirk-Pinkerton represents the City of Bradenton Beach in their claim against BP, along with numerous individuals and small businesses under the settlement agreement. Those interested in learning more about the BP claims process can contact Bill Robertson directly at 941-404-5299 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Kirk–Pinkerton, P.A.
Kirk-Pinkerton, P.A. is a multi-practice law firm with offices in Sarasota, FL. It has been servicing clients in the Sarasota community and throughout Southwest Florida since 1926 on a wide range of matters including estate planning, probate and trust administration, taxation, corporations and partnerships, business mergers, entertainment law, sales and acquisitions, environmental law, real estate acquisitions, government, administrative, land use and zoning law, banking law, eminent domain, contract and commercial law, foreclosures, criminal law, personal injury, wrongful death, probate disputes and general litigation.
Throughout its 87-year history, Kirk-Pinkerton attorneys have been a trusted source of advice and counsel to clients, families, businesses owners, property owners, local government entities and beyond. For more information, please visit www.kirkpinkerton.com.