On August 5 BP requested that Judge Barbier order a temporary stop to payouts in settlement claims under the court supervised settlement. BP presented evidence of conflicts of interest for some lawyers working to administer claims, and of employees helping people submit false claims to the Mobile, Alabama claims office. BP hopes to stop payments until investigations into the administration of claims are finished.
On Monday Barbier ordered Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator, to respond to BP’s request by August 26. Juneau has been conducting an internal investigation in response to the discovery of two attorneys receiving fees for paid claims. BP moved to halt all payments in response to this revelation, but its request was denied because there was no specific evidence of a widespread problem, and because payments on claims connected to the two attorneys had already been stopped. The same incident prompted Judge Barbier to appoint Joseph Freeh as an outside investigator of the claims administration. Both the internal and external investigations are ongoing.
Photo Credit: Green Fire Productions.