Administrator Pat Juneau is expecting a surge in claims as the April 2014 deadline for claims quickly approaches. To put things in context, over 165,000 claims had been filed by Gulf Coast claimants in the settlement as of mid-May. Juneau expects that number to increase as the deadline approaches. He made this observation:
It certainly wouldn’t surprise me that we’d break the 200,000 mark … It’s happened in every case I’ve been involved in, and there’s no reason to believe it would be otherwise in this case.
Without any doubt the Administrator and his staff have had their hands full. More than 1,000 people are tasked with processing claims filed in in the Settlement Program. I believe there is a need for more. Speaking to Reuters, Juneau noted that he still needs more help to handle the heavy load, noting that some claims involve “huge business losses that require a ton of accounting analysis.” On top of his responsibilities dealing with claims, Juneau has been a firsthand recipient of the frustrating appeals tactics utilized by BP.
Before starting the process, Juneau said he and his team reviewed many procedural questions with lawyers from both BP and the plaintiffs to ensure they all agreed on how claims would be analyzed. He said formulas in the agreement were designed to take subjective considerations out of the process and ensure claims would be decided based on quantifiable economic factors. Juneau noted that BP lawyers raised no objections to any of the terms of the settlement after it was agreed to. Neither did BP’s lawyers object when the settlement was first considered by Judge Barbier. Juneau’s recent court filing with the Fifth Circuit points out that BP knew well before the fairness hearing on November 8, 2012 all about the very issues it now complains about. It’s very important to note that lawyers for BP never even raised the issues it now complains about with Judge Barbier at any time during the fairness hearing. Our lawyers who were involved confirm Juneau’s position as being totally factual.
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