BP Exploration & Prodn, Inc. v. ID

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    Case: 18-31275 Document: 00515288182 Page: 1 Date Filed: 01/28/2020 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED January 28, 2020 No. 18-31275 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION, INCORPORATED; BP AMERICA PRODUCTION COMPANY; BP, P.L.C., Requesting Parties – Appellants v. CLAIMANT ID 100354107, Objecting Party – Appellee Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Before OWEN, Chief Judge, and BARKSDALE and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges. STUART KYLE DUNCAN, Circuit Judge: Following the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Walmart submitted an economic loss claim under the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Agreement for one of its stores located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. That store, it turns out, had reopened a mere six months before the oil spill, having been closed ever since it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina several years earlier. The Settlement Program classified Walmart’s submission as a “start- up business” claim and issued a compensation award of nearly $1 million. An appeal panel subsequently affirmed that award. BP sought review in the district court, arguing that Walmart should have been treated as a regular Case: 18-31275 Document: 00515288182 Page: 2 Date Filed: 01/28/2020 No. 18-31275 business, not a start-up, and denied compensation altogether. The district court declined discretionary review. We affirm. 1 I. In 2003, Walmart opened “supercenter” #5079 in Pass Christian, Mississippi, just across U.S. Highway 90 from the Gulf of Mexico. The company operated the store for approximately two years, until Hurricane Katrina decimated Pass Christian in August 2005. The hurricane destroyed the store, and what was left of the building was demolished. This photo, looking out over the store’s parking lot toward the beach, shows a portion of the destruction: This is a photo of the structure itself, after cleanup: 1 Chief Judge Owen dissents because, in her view, the district court abused its discretion by declining to review the appeal panel’s decision. 2 Case: 18-31275 Document: 00515288182 Page: 3 Date Filed: 01/28/2020 No. 18-31275 In the wake of the hurricane, Walmart immediately announced plans to reopen the store. By early 2007, the company had purchased an additional 34 acres of land for the purpose of expanding its Pass Christian operation. Construction of the expanded store began in late 2008 and continued until Fall 2009. All the while, from September 2005 through early October 2009, the Pass Christian Walmart had no revenue. In late July 2009, the City of Pass Christian issued a new annual privilege tax license for the store, effective October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010. Finally, on October 14, 2009, the rebuilt Walmart #5079 opened to the public. On April 20, 2010, just six months after the Pass Christian Walmart reopened, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the spill, BP entered into the Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement Agreement with entities that suffered spill-related economic losses. See generally In re Deepwater Horizon, 785 F.3d 986, …Original document

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