Federal Judge Denies BP’s Request To Block Payments (Update)
I reported Friday, a federal judge in New Orleans was to rule on BP’s request to block potential billions of dollars in settlement payouts to gulf coast businesses that claim the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster cost them money.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier had previously upheld court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau’s interpretation of settlement terms regarding payments to businesses affected by the 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo Well. Barbier declined to change his March 5 ruling, and denied a preliminary injunction that would block Juneau from making the payments.
Barbier also dismissed BP’s lawsuit against Juneau, who had claimed he was entitled to immunity from the suit.
BP’s attorneys argued that Juneau made decisions in January that expose the company to losses that may or may not have been legitimate, and were not addressed in the settlement.
BP attorney Rick Godfrey said, “We think it rewrites the contract. We think it rewards people who have no losses.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys contend BP’s allegations are baseless and self-serving. Attorney Steve Herman said BP’s request was simply a legal gambit designed to clear a path for an appeal.
Juneau’s lawyer, said his client has a duty to follow the judge’s orders and “move this process forward.”
“Seems like this whole exercise is a belt-and-suspenders operation…There’s no subtlety here. You’re trying to get this issue to the 5th Circuit.” – U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier
A BP spokesman said the company “will evaluate how to proceed …to protect our rights and prevent continued meritless awards.”