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J.R. Whaley
J.R. Whaley
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BP Cries Wolf. Again.

1 comment

It seems that facts are again catching up with BP’s hyperbole and expensive legal and media campaign to cast itself as the victim in a runaway claims process.  This time the facts come from an independent audit that BP requested, having not been satisfied with an earlier audit confirming that Patrick Juneau, the administrator of the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (DHECC), a claims center that BP established to pay claims arising out of BP’s class action settlement agreement, was processing claims appropriately.

Sometime back, we wrote about BP’s efforts to crawfish from its settlement agreement with the people and businesses of the Gulf South and pointed out that the positions BP has taken in the United States Supreme Court are directly contrary to positions it previously took in the district and appeals court.  We pointed out that “facts are stubborn things” and that BP cannot hide from the established facts about BP’s previous, full-throated support of the class action settlement agreement — the same one it now seeks to undo.

Despite those irrefutable facts, for over a year, BP has attempted to discredit Patrick Juneau and his work as administrator of the DHECC.  Remember that BP chose Juneau for that very position.  Remember that BP agreed to the structure of the settlement.  Remember that BP once praised not only Juneau but the functioning of the class action settlement program itself.  And remember that BP agreed-to the exact methodology that Juneau was using to pay claims.  Importantly, also remember that BP has received a broad class-wide release of any and all economic claims from thousands of businesses in the Gulf South, even if those businesses never make a claim.  Remember too that the DHECC is denying the majority of claims filed, not paying them.

But none of those facts matter to BP.  Instead, when BP decided it suited its own economic interests, it did an about-face and began an expensive, orchestrated legal and PR campaign to unwind its agreement with the people and businesses of the Gulf South.  Its CEO told investors on national TV that Juneau had “hijacked” the settlement and was paying “absurd” claims. BP’s corporate mouthpiece even cried victim on 60 Minutes, and spoke about “thousand [of] claims” with “glaring red flags associated with them that should have been picked out by the claims administrator and instead were ultimately awarded more than $500 million.”  Wow.  That’s a great story in all respects except one — it’s not true.

An independent auditor, insisted on by BP, just issued its report on the functioning of the DHECC.  And like so many other situations in which BP says one thing but the facts show another, this audit proves the opposite of what BP says about Pat Juneau and the claims process he oversees.

The McGladrey Group did an exhaustive review of the claims process and found that Juneau and the DHECC paid claims correctly 99.5% of the time.  99.5%.  On any grading curve, even one based in BP’s London headquarters, 99.5% is an A+.

So, no BP.  There are not, and were not, “thousands of claims” with “red flags” and hundreds of millions of dollars paid for “absurd” claims.  The independent audit that you insisted upon proves that.  Again, facts are stubborn things.  They just keep getting in the way of BP’s well-oiled PR machine.

1 Comment

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  1. Eyeswideopen says:
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    Well this sure brings into question BP’s argument on improper payments. I guess it’s safe to say the examples they used were from claims paid under GCCF not the class settlement.

    The other issue pending : if the offers and payments were calculated properly then why should we accept a material change to the settlement caused by Policy 495.