Gulf Coast Claims Fund stops payments pending clarification

BP’s $20 billion oil spill fund has halted payments to eligible victims until a U.S. federal court clarifies an order issued in December, according to a notice posted on the fund’s website.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana had asked the fund, called the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, to pay into a court supervised escrow account 6 percent of the gross settlement amount. The funds from the escrow account would be used to meet certain legal expenses incurred by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

In a letter to the court, a lawyer for the fund, David Pitofsky, asked the court to clarify whether the ruling would mean that those who have already been paid by GCCF on or after Nov. 7 should be asked to give some of the money back.