Thursday, October 16, 2014

Juneau: BP not 'candid' in attempt to oust him

Juneau: BP not 'candid' in attempt to oust him

NEW ORLEANS -- As claims administrator Patrick Juneau responded to BP's effort to oust him Wednesday, plaintiffs' lawyers rushed to his defense and questioned if BP was leveling "outrageous and unfounded accusations" against Juneau in hopes that Judge Carl Barbier would sanction BP and open new avenues for the oil giant to appeal.
BP CEO Bob Dudley has accused Juneau of "hijacking" and "willfully misinterpreting" the settlement. Last month BP filed a motion to have Juneau removed because he had a contract with the state of Louisiana advising the government about the claims payment process of Ken Feinberg, the man in charge of compensation before the 2012 court settlement.
Juneau said in a brief filed Wednesday that no fewer than six BP attorneys and executives knew about his role as a liaison for the state before the company asked the court to let Juneau serve as independent claims administrator. Juneau also said he told BP verbally about his role as an attorney for Louisiana and did not consider it a conflict of interest because it had nothing to do with the litigation between plaintiffs and BP or a separate suit filed by the state against the oil giant.
Juneau said BP was not being "fully candid with the court" and was wrong to say that he had served "as a lawyer in the matter in controversy."
"Louisiana's legal claims against BP, whenever filed, are irrelevant as to Mr. Juneau because Mr. Juneau played no role in preparing, filing, or litigating those claims for relief," Juneau's attorney wrote. "Mr. Juneau was hired to provide 'advice and counsel to the State . . . related to the claims process and allocation protocols utilized and developed by the Responsible Parties associated with and/or arising from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,' and these services did 'not include litigation.'"
The attorneys representing the settlement class also filed briefs in court Wednesday saying BP's accusations against Juneau are so far out of bounds that they deserve sanctions, but quickly added, "To be clear, Class Counsel does not seek sanctions at this time."

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