Monday, March 21, 2016

BP to blame for payment delays, not Deepwater Claims Administrator Juneau | Legal Examiner New Orleans

BP to blame for payment delays, not Deepwater Claims Administrator Juneau | Legal Examiner New Orleans

by Tom Young

Recently, Florida Senator Bill Nelson penned a letter to Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau urging Mr. Juneau to speed up claims analysis. While the resolution of individual and business economic loss claims associated with BP’s disaster has been much too slow, the fault lies squarely at BP’s feet, not Mr. Juneau’s.

BP’s Brilliant Subterfuge

Judge Barbier of lead BP attorney Rick Godfrey (pictured above): “If anyone is trying to rewrite the Settlement Agreement, it is counsel for BP.”

In 2012, with BP’s enthusiastic urging, Claims Administrator Juneau and his staff processed and paid (if eligible) most claims within 60-90 days of filing. The company was all too happy to promote the program’s efficiencies as it sought judicial approval for the compact. Then, once the Settlement was officially blessed by Judge Barbier, BP went about attempting to systematically dismantle it.

Objective number one for the company was to slow down payments by any means possible. This included cooking up largely unfounded allegations of fraud and filing losing lawsuits that BP pressed all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States (which promptly told the company to go pound sand).

BP’s course reversal after Settlement approval was not lost on Judge Barbier:

“[I]f anyone is attempting to rewrite or disregard the unambiguous terms of the Settlement Agreement, it is counsel for BP. Frankly, it is surprising that the same counsel who represented BP during the settlement negotiations, participated in drafting the final Settlement Agreement, and then strenuously advocated for approval of the settlement before this Court, now come to this Court and the Fifth Circuit and contradict everything they have previously done or said on this issue. Such actions are deeply disappointing.” – Judge Barbier, December 24, 2013

Judge Carl Barbier questioned BP’s motives, saying the company’s position was “deeply disappointing.”

I have written before about BP saying one thing while doing the opposite. Unfortunately for the people of the Gulf, such is the company’s modus operandi.

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