In yet another indication of how brutally BP intends to fight to undercut the 2012 settlement agreement it signed with injured plaintiffs across the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the company has formally filed a request before a federal judge to ask that more than $25 million be cut from the budget of the Court Supervised Settlement Program. The slash in spending is aimed at reducing the amount of money the settlement program has to pay claims by those individuals and businesses injured following the oil spill.
The request is currently before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier and experts remain doubtful that BP will be successful in its attempt to cut off money to the program administrator. That’s because Judge Barbier denied a similar motion by BP last quarter, ultimately deciding that BP had failed to show how the program administrator’s expenses were out of line. At the time, Barbier ordered Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau to hold meetings with BP to work out an agreement on the fourth quarter budget, something that either never happened or that was unsuccessful.
BP claims that in meetings prior to the release of the budget request, Juneau had agreed to drop his fourth court request from $131 million down to $111 million. BP claims that Juneau refused to go any lower despite their insistence that this figure was still too high. BP claims hat the Court Supervised Settlement Program spends money freely and without restraint, unilaterally setting high budgets and then refusing to manage vendors that fail to comply with what it says are already inflated budgets.
BP’s motion stated that because the Court Supervised Settlement Program intends to spend whatever money they are budgeted, Judge Barbier should err on the side of caution and require the settlement program to operate on the tighter budget proposed by BP. BP says even with its figures the program would still have more than $28 million per month which it says should be more than enough to pay existing claims.
Juneau and the claims program have yet to respond to BP’s recent shot across the bow. Judge Barbier gave Juneau a short extension to prepare a response to BP’s motion, a response which will now be due early next week. We’ll have to wait until then to hear the other side of this increasingly contentious story.
If you’ve been impacted by this or any other oil spill, please don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at toll free 601-707-4669.
Source: “BP objects to settlement claims office’s quarterly budget again, demands $25.5 million cut,” by Mark Schleifstein, published at NOLA.com.
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