BP has been vocal in the news media about its objections to the very Settlement Program it helped to create. But the reality is, BP did a good job in setting up the necessary formulas to ensure that only valid, legitimate claims are paid.
Now that the reality of the devastation it caused is becoming apparent through the large amount of valid claims being filed, BP also wants to say that some claim losses are “fictitious” and that the Claims Administrator is doing it wrong.
Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau was selected by BP, and is a well-respected, neutral party. The Settlement is being applied exactly as it was written, but BP is now trying to change the terms. The Settlement Program includes a complicated formula with very specific standards an individual or company must meet in order to meet causation. If the bar is not met, the claim will be rejected. This is the way BP wanted it, and it is fair.
As a law firm handling BP claims for businesses, we would never support the filing of fraudulent or fictitious claims that don’t meet the exact terms of the Settlement Program. The issue here, however, is not whether or not there is a massive influx of fraudulent claims. While BP says they are paying billions as a result of these so called ‘fictitious claims’, what they really mean is that they are unhappy with the way business losses are being calculated. BP has made three legal attempts to change or slow the Program, but has been denied each time. Some analysts are calling BP’s situation ‘buyer’s remorse’, and do not expect BP to win the appeal that is currently pending.
Recently, BP setup a hotline as an avenue for reporting fraudulent and suspicious activity regarding the filing of BP claims. Of course fraudulent claims shouldn’t be paid. But again, that’s not what’s happening thanks to the many fraud protections in place. Unfortunately, the indirect result of this is the vilification of businesses and individuals with legitimate claims. The very businesses that this Program is designed to help now may think twice before filing, which may be BP’s endgame all along.