Tar patties and tar balls washed up on the Florida Panhandle shoreline recently, indicating that BP PLC’s latest attempt to seal off its ruptured wellhead wasn’t as effective as the company had hoped. The British Broadcasting Company reported that Admiral Thad Allen, the U.S. Coast Guard’s national incident commander, stated approximately 1,000 barrels of a day were currently being captured, but the total flow of leaking oil was approximately 12,000 to 19,000 barrels each day. Reports from BP estimated a drastically different amount being saved – nearly the opposite of the Coast Guard report.
Although the worst impact thus far has occurred to the northern Gulf states, the ecotourism industry in South Florida is already feeling the BP oil slick’s impact. Resorts, restaurants, nightlife and recreational and commercial boating and fishing are feeling the impact in South Florida’s Gulf cities.
So far about 6,000 claims have been filed against BP, and approximately $4.4 million has been paid by the oil company. A lawsuit was filed last Thursday seeking class action status against BP on behalf of all residents of the Florida coast.
The suit alleges that there are hundreds of thousands of Florida entities and individuals that own residential or vacation properties near or within the coastal zone of Florida, and therefore have sustained damages or losses resulting from the BP Gulf oil spill. The suit also noted the federal ban on fishing in the Gulf of Mexico as of June 2, and alleged that this necessary action as a result of the spill damaged fishing tourism statewide.
The lawsuit also claims that due to nature and size of the oil plumes and oil slick, potential customers have legitimate fears about reserving vacation trips in advance. The suit further claims there will continue to be further economic losses and vacation cancellations.
Similar class action lawsuits have been filed in Louisiana and Alabama, pending success in Florida.
If you own or operate property or a business that has been affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with environmental disasters. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.