The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

Understandably tired of BP’s unsubstantiated attacks on his integrity, Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau struck back late Wednesday.

Patrick A. Juneau, Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator
Patrick A. Juneau, Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator

In a sixteen page filing with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Juneau took issue with BP’s assertion that he somehow “misinterpreted” or “misapplied” the Settlement Agreement after it had been approved as fair and reasonable by Judge Barbier.

While BP has lost two recent appeals dealing with how Juneau determines if a claimant qualifies for payment – an issue known as “causation” – the company is seeking a rehearing in a seemingly last ditch, Hail Mary move to press its position that the causation requirements in the 1,200 page Settlement Agreement, as applied by Juneau, are somehow too lax. Or alternatively, that BP, one of the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world, was mislead or simply did not understand how Claims Administrator Juneau would implement the payment program.

Feigning surprise

Juneau points out that BP knew exactly how he would apply the causation standards months before the company sought court approval of the Settlement Agreement. In fact, on numerous occasions – before approval – BP confirmed Juneau’s interpretation.

In his filing, Juneau says that “the only sensible construction of BP’s argument is to suggest that the Claims Administrator’s policy with respect to alternative causation was a surprise move that took place after the district court had approved the Settlement Agreement. But that is patently untrue and contrary to the actual timeline of events.”

BP knew the score

Juneau makes four points in his filing:

1. Before the Settlement Agreement was approved by the district court, not afterwards, Juneau issued a formal written policy regarding the implementation of the agreement’s causation requirements, in which he expressly stated that he would not consider alternative causes of loss.

2. BP knew about and readily agreed with that policy and never challenged it. This policy was implemented a full three months before the Settlement Agreement was approved by the Court, at the formal request of BP.

3. The Claims Administrator did not change his causation analysis “post-approval.”

4. At all times the Claims Administrator has required each claimant to satisfy the causation standards drafted and agreed to by the parties in Exhibit 4B.

On September 25, 2012, several months before the Settlement Agreement was approved, BP attorney Keith Moskowitz sent the following statement to Juneau reflecting the company’s position on the causation requirements:

“If the accurate financial data establish that the claimant satisfies the causation requirement [in Exhibit 4B], then all losses … are presumed to be attributable to the Oil Spill. Nothing in the Causation Framework (Ex. 4B) … provides for an offset where … extraneous, non-financial data indicates that the [claimant’s revenue] decline was attributable to a factor wholly unrelated to the Oil Spill. Such ‘false positives’ are an inevitable concomitant of an objective, quantitative, data-based test.”

In fact, BP maintained this position on causation throughout the litigation involving the matching issue until 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Clement suggested that BP should argue the point. Only then did BP begin to feign surprise at the manner in which Juneau was determining if a claimant’s loss was the result of the spill.


  1. Gravatar for Joe Pa

    Contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. My parents would turn in their graves!

  2. Gravatar for Dave Arnsby

    BP has been denied twice recently at the 5th circuit, and if justice is truly served, they will be denied for a 3rd and final time very shortly. Judge Juneau is a very highly respected and experienced Judge and was extremely thorough in his preparation and handling of the DWH settlement prior to final acceptance, and during its implementation. The facts are the facts, it glares clear definition. There was no,and is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the agreement.

    Judge Edith Brown set off the fireworks by suggesting to BP that they, all of a sudden, should challenge causation, which exists in the agreement anyway. Quite Frankly Edith Brown should recuse herself from the panel, as a very clear conflict of interest exists by belonging to a "think tank " Environmental Group that is sponsored by none other than Big Oil, with get away retreats, thrown in as an extra.

    Ironically, Judge Brown was the only judge to cast her vote against the PSC and victims in the most recent appeal. What a surprise. She has been asked before to step away from this issue and refused.

    At the front and center of all this, are victims still waiting for their justified settlements. What needs to happen when BP is denied for the last time, is a court order, to settle all outstanding legitimate claims in both the DWH program and the BP Claims Program. Failure to do this within a very limited timeframe will result in contempt of court, with severe penalties. Remember BP has just been given back their drilling licences . Why were no conditions attached ? That was a perfect opportunity to make BP tow the line. They have never denied full responsibility. In fact admitted guilt to the DOJ.This April will be 4 years from the disaster. BP stock is still languishing at $48. Get this over with and it will double in no time.

  3. Gravatar for joe simon

    so if this contract that bp drafted and signed and know trying to back out of is not valid then the contract between the nfl and the tv can be voided any time ......

  4. Gravatar for Joe Sorrentino

    All of these stalling practices are hurting our business since we lost money because of this tragic and avoidable accident. Time for BP to own up to its promise to do right. JS

Comments are closed.

Of Interest