U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued what some may call a harshly worded opinion late afternoon Friday, stating that BP went back on their initial word in its new demand that businesses must show proof that their economic losses were directly related to the 2010 oil spill on a claim by claim basis. “To the contrary, when it talks about causation, if anyone is attempting to rewrite or disregard the unambiguous terms of the settlement agreement, it is counsel for BP.” Barbier continues to emphasize that BP’s current counsel who is opposing the terms under which business economic loss claims must be filed, is the same counsel that fully agreed to the Settlement Program and its policies when the Program was certified. Read the full order here.
Barbier is also pointing out that the Program was designed to address the large influx of claims that would take years and years to settle in trial on an individual basis, and, when the Program was established, BP was apologetic and eager to begin the process of returning millions in recovery back to Gulf Coast economies. Before the Federal Court took over the supervision of the Program, BP was managing these claims on their own behalf, where businesses were not being evaluated fairly or in a just manner. This method didn’t last because of the unequal treatment of claimants and claim values and from this unjust practice of claim evaluation stemmed the objective and fraud resistant Program overseen by the Federal Court and by claims administrator Patrick Juneau. BP was ready to accept the terms of the agreement knowing that it would save them a great deal of money in the long term.
Much of the media has branded BP as having ‘buyers’ remorse’ and as not having accurately predicted the total cost of the entire Program. Along with their appeals, BP has pursued a multi-million dollar PR campaign designed to sway the general public and their opinions on how BP has handled the crisis.