A claim for more than $8.8 million against BP is on its way to lawyers in South Carolina, Dunedin city attorney Tom Trask said Thursday.
Trask said he "rushed in the last 14 days to get" Dunedin's claim against BP ready for high-powered, national plaintiff litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.
The 11-page document boasts of Dunedin's two largest natural tourism destinations Caladesi and Honeymoon Island state parks and points to revenue lost from declined tourism after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The claim for $8,812,133, plus another estimated $20,000 for recent forensic accounting fees not yet tallied, had already been sent through overnight mailing services by the time Dunedin city leaders voted to approve the claim at Thursday's meeting at City Hall.
According to the claim, the amount represents roughly:
- $2.1 million in lost revenue from solid waste operations
- $1.5 million in lost sales tax revenue
- $1.6 million in lost electric franchise fees
- $24,500 in lost gas utility taxes
- $4,700 in lost propane utility taxes
- $590,000 in lost local option gas taxes
- $1.8 million in lost communication services taxes
- $130,000 in lost property tax revenue from ad valorem property taxes
The claim reads:
"The City has suffered, and will continue to suffer, injuries and damages due to the fact that it has been unable to collect revenues and other economic benefits due to the decline in tourism and declining interest in visiting the City as a result of the pollution and damage to the Gulf region done by the Oil Spill."
"We are giving them more (information) than what they asked for," Trask said.
Kevin Dean, a lawyer from the South Carolina-based law firm, reassured commissioners Feb. 7 when they had questions about being past a perceived Jan. 18 deadline to file a claim for recovery costs related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.
He told city officials that the statute of limitations won't technically expire until April 20. Dean said no case law on the technicalities surrounding a 90-day filing period under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 exists, and he suspects judges would rule in the claimants' favor if it is challenged.
Dean is also representing Sarasota County, Pasco County, Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Clearwater, and at least four other municipal or county governments in the area in the BP case.
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The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig, owned by Transocean and leased to BP, exploded offshore in deep waters outside Houston on April 22, 2010.
The tragedy killed 11 people on board the rig and caused an unknown amount of oil to gush continuously into the Gulf until July 15, 2010.
Gulf coast communities reported severe economic impacts.
Motley Rice attorneys are famous for pioneering asbestos lawsuits, terrorist financiers on behalf of Sept. 11 families, and suits against Big Tobacco, according to Trask's memo.