Friday morning, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier categorically rejected BP's frivolous arguments seeking to enjoin Patrick Juneau, Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator, from properly carrying out his duties. Judge Barbier presided over a hearing on the merits of BP's requested injunction, deciding that the oil giant failed in all respects to make the showing required to grant an emergency injunction. Judge Barbier also dismissed a separate lawsuit filed by BP against Juneau on similar grounds, calling BP's duplicitous legal maneuvering a "belt and suspenders" tactic.
While polite, Barbier frequently interrupted BP lead counsel Rick Godfrey's presentation, clearly showing his honor's growing frustration with BP's groundless machinations in what was supposed to be a non-contentious settlement of the class action lawsuit resulting from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has already appealed Barbier's order affirming the claims administrator's interpretation of the agreement to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, most observers believe the company will find little sympathy from that body.
While BP likely realizes its goose is cooked on this issue, the company is no doubt succeeding in scaring off otherwise legitimate claimants. By alleging such filings to be "fictitious," "absurd," or even "fraudulent," the company is attempting to shame claimants into submission. As characterized in court Friday by one of the attorneys representing tens of thousands of plaintiffs, "BP's actions are disingenuous and quite frankly, insulting."
Meanwhile, a petition is being circulated at change.org/BrokenPromise to attempt to bring the market to bear on BP by making the company pay a reputational cost for breaking its promise to Gulf Coast businesses. We believe that only a victory in a court-of-law, as well as in the court-of-public-opinion, will put a stop to BP's shameful behavior.
As a plaintiff attorney, Tom Young has been at the forefront of some of the Nation's worst disasters. In 2015, he was judicially appointed to represent over 200,000 plaintiffs in an allocation proceeding involving a $1.24 billion settlement with Deepwater Horizon contractor Halliburton and rig owner Transocean. Currently, he's focused on representing numerous communities across the country that have been ravaged by the opioid epidemic and are now seeking damages from drug manufacturers and distributors.