NEW ORLEANS -- Oil claims administrator Patrick Juneau said he will start paying businesses with signed releases on Monday.
It would be the first time since December that any of the remaining 30,000 business claimants will be able collect now that a federal judge has lifted an injunction.
Juneau told WWL-TV that the claims he will be able to pay right away are those that cleared all possible appeals by BP before Oct. 3 and have already signed a release stating the claimant will not sue BP over any further oil spill losses.
He also warned there's another significant caveat. Those claims that meet specific criteria will have to go through a new "matching" review process, which will take Juneau's accounting team some time.
Juneau had said he would move quickly to process the business claims again as soon as the court allowed it. Payments are expected to be slow because Juneau has been forced by a separate appeals court ruling to adopt a new and complex formula for matching business claimants' revenues to their related expenses when calculating losses.
Juneau was cleared to begin moving the claims Wednesday, after U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier lifted the stay. The order by Barbier came a day after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied BP’s motion to keep a stay in place.
BP, however, has filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court at about the same time that Barbier was lifting the stay. The oil company is asking the High Court to reinstate the stay and block all business claims payments yet again.