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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
January 10, 2014, Filed
[*795] W. EUGENE DAVIS, Circuit Judge:
This is an interlocutory appeal from the district court's order certifying a class action and approving a settlement under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.1 The ongoing litigation before the district court encompasses claims against British Petroleum Exploration & Production, Inc. ("BP") and numerous other entities. [**3] All these claims are related to the 2010 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling rig, and the consequent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Several of the original appellants in this case have moved to dismiss their appeals voluntarily, and we have granted those motions. We accordingly do not consider the arguments unique to those appellants. The three groups of appellants remaining before us—the "Allpar Objectors," the "Cobb Objectors," and the "BCA Objectors"—all filed objections with the district court opposing class certification and settlement approval based on various provisions of Rule 23. The Objectors' arguments were each addressed and rejected by the district court in its order of December 21, 2012. The Objectors have now appealed the district court's order and ask this court to remand with instructions to decertify the class and withdraw approval from the Settlement Agreement.
BP also now asks this court to vacate the district court's order, although BP is not formally an appellant and, in fact, BP originally supported both [**4] class certification and settlement approval before the district court. In addition to its own set of new arguments under Rule 23, BP also raises additional arguments regarding the Article III standing of certain class members to make claims under the Settlement Agreement. Unlike the Objectors, however, BP argues that the Settlement Agreement can be salvaged if "properly construed and implemented." In BP's view, all of the problems that invalidate the class settlement under Article III and Rule 23 result from two Policy Announcements issued by the Claims Administrator, Patrick Juneau, who was appointed under the Settlement Agreement by the district court.
As set forth below, we cannot agree with the arguments raised by the Objectors or BP. The district court was correct to conclude that the applicable requirements of Rule 23 are satisfied in this case. Additionally, whether or not BP's arguments regarding Exhibits 4B and 4C are correct as a matter of contract interpretation, neither class certification nor settlement approval are contrary to Article III in this case. Accordingly, the district court's order is affirmed.
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739 F.3d 790 *; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 575 **; 102 A.L.R.6th 695; 77 ERC (BNA) 1829; 2014 AMC 984; 2014 WL 103836
IN RE: DEEPWATER HORIZON — APPEALS OF THE ECONOMIC AND PROPERTY DAMAGE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by In re Deepwater Horizon, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9317 (5th Cir. La., May 19, 2014)
Rehearing, en banc, denied by In re Deepwater Horizon-Appeals of the Econ. & Prop. Damage Class Action Settlement, 756 F.3d 320, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9399 (5th Cir. La., May 19, 2014)
Decision reached on appeal by In re Horizon, 814 F.3d 748, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 3400 (5th Cir. La., Feb. 25, 2016)
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
In re Oil Spill by Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon, 910 F. Supp. 2d 891, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181511 (E.D. La., Dec. 21, 2012)
district court, settlement, Objectors, settlement agreement, claimants, class certification, damages, causation, class action, class member, certification, absent class members, entities, economic loss, named plaintiff, questions, formula, oil spill, causation requirement, merits, classwide, cases, class settlement, predominance, commonality, measurement, injuries, notice, defendant's conduct, common issue
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, General Overview, Clearly Erroneous Review, Preliminary Considerations, Jurisdiction, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Appellate Review, Certification of Classes, Elements, Particular Parties, Class Members, Named Members, Absent Members, Justiciability, Burdens of Proof, Injury in Fact, Compromise & Settlement, Judicial Discretion, Prerequisites for Class Action, Commonality, Adequacy of Representation, Predominance, Notice of Class Action