Judge must reconsider BP's motion to suspend certain types of claims

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 11:24 AM

David Hammer / Eyewitness News
Email: dhammer@wwltv.com | Twitter: @davidhammerWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- BP celebrated a rare victory Thursday in its fight to undo some parts of its multi-billion dollar oil spill claims settlement.

BP has been arguing for 10 months that certain oil spill claimants were using fuzzy accounting to get paid when they didn't deserve it.

Judge Carl Barbier said again and again, tough luck, that's what BP agreed to. But now, a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tells Barbier to look at it again.

Now, claims administrator Patrick Juneau says the ruling means he's going to have to change the way he pays some claims, but exactly how he does that, he says, is about as clear as mud.

“I've said since day one, I'm claims administrator. I don’t represent anyone. My job is to implement whatever the courts agree to do. When we get clarity exactly how this should come down, that's what we'll do,” Juneau said.

“What they're asking to do, a narrowly tailored injunction to cherry pick those claims that BP has a concern with and have the administrator look at that, but not in a manner that stops the entire process,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst Doug Sunseri.

Juneau said he'll have to set aside those claims that were made based on cash accounting, rather than accrual accounting. He's working on a way to let people know if their claims are affected.

“We want to notify people if we, I don't want to say pigeonholed, but set those aside until we get the definitive ruling, we’re going to have some notice that we put them in that category so there will be full transparency about that,” Juneau said.

BP issued a statement saying the appeals court ruling "affirms what BP has been saying since the beginning: claimants should not be paid for fictitious or wholly non-existent losses.”

"We are gratified that the systematic payment of such claims by the claims administrator must now come to an end," added BP Vice President Geoff Morrell.

 

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