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In a just released legal brief, lawyers for plaintiffs who suffered economic losses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster have accused BP of violating court ordered confidentiality requirements as well as specific provisions of the landmark 2012 Settlement Agreement which protect the sanctity of the claims process. BP denies the allegations.

In a filing unsealed today, Co-Lead Class Counsel Steve Herman alleges that BP has had secret, improper and unilateral access to confidential claimant data since the very early days of the compensation program. If confirmed, such access would provide BP with unlimited data from which to file questionable appeals and otherwise attempt to manipulate the Claims Administration’s payment policies.

Importantly, BP has made much of its claim that had the company better understood how payments were being calculated at the outset of the compensation program, it would have objected earlier. It now appears that BP may have had such one-sided, insider access since July 2012, the very month the first payments were made. Hence, the company’s protestations feigning surprise about how the program was being administered now ring hollow.

BP’s unilateral access to confidential claimant data and supporting documentation undermine the integrity of the program and the agreed upon “claimant friendly” filing environment. This unfair advantage has provided BP with an ability to influence claim payment policies, both globally and specific to certain claimants, as well as vilify businesses participating in the process. If these allegations are verified, this is a travesty of justice on an unprecedented scale.

UPDATE 3/19/14:

Last night BP filed a response to Class Counsel’s allegations. BP asserts that language in the Settlement Agreement allows the company access to predetermination, claim and claimant specific information. While I disagree that the Settlement Agreement and subsequently issued Confidentiality Order permit such access, I know that was not the intent of the parties and certainly not the understanding of claimants and their representatives.


  1. Gravatar for D.I.G.

    I have first hand knowledge of this. All along BP had access to all of my claims as they were being processed.

  2. Gravatar for joe

    Nothing will ever be done. BP has and will continue to flaunt all laws, evade all claims they feel they dont want to pay and they will break every law they wish to and not suffer a single admonishment. there are too many in our government and those who are tasked with responsibility to prosecute such things on the secret payola. Let it be known BP has paid what it knows it would pay, and up to the tax deductible limit all along. Any claims paid that were inappropriate were also part of the plan to give credence to the pre planned complaints they knew they would make all along. That is because even in a pre planned scam by feds and BP to impersonate a legal just negotiated settlement, there would be claims that are not in the plan they need to control or stop. The whole settlement is a preplanned scam. It started to grow beyond the plan and they needed to control it. In case you have not noticed, thousands of private lawsuits against BP outside the MDL have been silently squashed by the fed courts in flagrant distortions of the law rulings by the courts in every district. Literally killing all of them one at a time in summary dismissals. Thousands of them. Because non of them were in the BP /Government scam of the century plan. A unprecedented number of civil justified cases have been dismissed in summary judgments all over this country . 100% of every case against BP by any individual. never in the history of the courts has there been a 100% dismissal rate on three years in a row on every single civil case against a corporation. Not one has succeeded. That fact alone should be a massive journalistic investigation and documentary so that it can be revealed to the world the corruption in this BP matter is so massive it can never be overcome. Think of it. 100% of every single private indivdual civil case against BP has been set to confidential and summary dismissal. 100% for almost 4 yrs now. So. If your not in the MDL, your not in the plan to ever be paid. no matter how justified your claim is.

  3. Gravatar for Eyeswideopen

    D.I.G, if you knew why did you wait or did you expose them.

    Well now it’s time to see what the PSC and the courts will do.

    Let’s see:

    Strip BP’s appeals.

    Remove the Injunction.

    Return to FI/FO first in first out.

    Relax the document requirements.

    Expose and replace the Court Vendors.

    Reduce the accounting scrutiny on every little dollar.

    Impose more rules and document requirements.


    Or will the BP’s attack machine fire back with the dirty little secrets in the next few days.

    Sure will be very interesting as the spin doctors get ready "the freak show is about to begin".

  4. Gravatar for Patricia Springstead
    Patricia Springstead

    Thanks Tom for this well thought out article. I find it unfortunate that this ongoing nightmare is continuing to unfold.

    I have so many sick and ill reporting to me. I have been in the Medical Field for years and in my years in the field I have never seen such a deplorable treatment of humans and of our Gulf.

    This has been a media black out from the beginning and it has hit below the panhandle.

    It is truly unfortunate that the Feds, BP and the EPA have covered this up and they have lied to the people, this is just one article with links to many and if this is allowed to continue many will die.

    I have traveled and videoed up and down this coast and the absolute lack of concern over this spill is a tragedy. Scientists are finding oil in Tampa Bay, Sarasota all the way down to the Keys. People are sick and do not know that they are sick and you are going to see a lot in the following article:

    Thanks for your concern and your compassion.

    Trisha Springstead

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