More bad news for BP and its efforts to avoid paying injured plaintiffs across Mississippi and other Gulf Coast states the settlement money that they were promised. A federal judge in New Orleans last week ordered BP to put up another $130 million for settlement payments to cover the next three months.
BP claims that the settlement administrator, Patrick Juneau, has been approving and paying claims to individuals and businesses that are excessive. BP objected when the court administered settlement program presented the $128 million budget in July. The budget indicated that $128 million was needed to provide the money necessary to fund operations in the third quarter of this year. BP claimed that the costs were excessive and argued it should be able to suspend payments to the settlement program.
Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan overruled these objections and ordered BP to fully fund the program. In her order, Shushan also asked the claims administrator to send BP budget estimates every 60 days in the future so the oil company has more updated notice of expenses. Shushan showed little sympathy for BP, saying that the company has “unreasonably withheld” its approval of the proposed budget.