As we reported in previous issues, BP threw another firebomb on the Settlement Program by attempting to remove Claims Administrator Pat Juneau from his role as overseer of the settlement. Curiously, BP made this move notwithstanding two audits that confirmed the process was being implemented correctly, as well as numerous court decisions rejecting BP’s contentions that the Claims Administrator was improperly administrating the settlement. With its previous settlement interpretation arguments in ruins, BP sought to remove Mr. Juneau based upon a claim that he had a conflict of interest and failed to disclose the conflict to BP.
Predictably, these claims were proved to be completely untrue. In fact, Court documents established that there was no conflict and, further, the supposed “conflict” was known by BP even before Mr. Juneau took control of the Program. Frankly, BP was making this argument because it had no other argument to make. Just a few months before filing its motion to remove Mr. Juneau, an independent audit of the Claim Center’s activities concluded that 99.5 percent of claims were being processed correctly. Faced with the possibility of being seen as petty before the Fifth Circuit, BP dropped its effort to remove Juneau.
BP made the obvious and right decision to drop this appeal, but the company’s effort is another in a long line of examples of how far it will go to get what it wants. BP’s contentions were completely ridiculous, but the purpose was clear – disrupt the Facility to slow payments down and intimidate the Claims Administrator. Sadly, more money was spent on legal briefs and bully tactics instead of putting the money in the hands of Gulf Coast citizens. The more things change the more they stay the same.
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