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CLASS ACTIONS - REGIONS BANK V. BP P.L.C.

Regions Bank v. BP P.L.C., [Ms. 1141170, Jan. 29, 2016] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2016). Because the class settlement of the Deepwater Horizon class action excluded financial institutions as plaintiffs in the economic-and-property-damage-settlement class, Regions was not a member of the class action and, thus, its trespass action against BP was not barred by res judicata. Another provision of the settlement allowed otherwise excluded entities such as banks to submit claims for coastal real property damage, which was the nature of Regions’ trespass claim. The Court did not find BP’s argument based on that provision persuasive. The general exclusion from the class governed, and the provision for otherwise excluded entities to file coastal real property damage and wetlands real property damage claims said only that they “may submit” such claims and thus “do[es] no more than give non-class members optional access to the claims-administration framework.” Justices Murdock and Shaw dissented on this point; they would hold that the coastal real property damage provision makes entities with such claims members of the class, and so they would hold that Regions’ separate trespass action is barred by the class settlement.

Related Documents: Regions Bank v BP 1-29-16

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