Law firm offers representation in oil spill sustenance claims

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lines of people have been forming outside a church on Jackson Landing Road on Mondays for the past few weeks, all filling out claims for the loss of sustenance fishing due to the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The claims being collected by Schwartz and Associates, one of several law firms looking for people for whom to file claims, are for the loss of fish to sustenance fishermen, said attorney Richard Schwartz.

To file a claim, non-commercial fishermen who lost the ability to fish due to the BP oil spill in 2010 will have to show they lost the ability to feed themselves and their families due to the spill, Schwartz said. That will involve a fishing license acquired prior to the spill and an affidavit listing the number of fish lost. The loss could have been due to closing of fishing waters, the need to spend additional funds on groceries due to the inability to fish or loss of the number of fish caught. Schwartz said an affidavit should also include the number of dependents in a household, in addition to the number of fish.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

If a settlement is awarded to the claimant, a third of the funds will be retained by the law firm as payment, Schwartz said.

The suit is filed under multi-district litigation, which encompasses all states affected by the spill, meaning the case will be heard in one court to expedite the proceedings. Schwartz said the case for which his firm is gathering claims will be heard in a New Orleans, La.-based court.

At this time the settlement claim process is awaiting approval from the judge overseeing the case, but Schwartz feels confident the judge could sign off on the case within the next week, moving the process forward.

Since the spill occurred two years ago, there is only a year left in which to file a claim, the lawyer said. Schwartz said interested parties can file a claim by calling his office at 1-800-459-2222.