The article below was written several months ago by my colleague and fellow attorney J.R. Whaley in Baton Rouge. Studying the statistics made available by Deepwater Horizon Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau, J.R. noticed that many more claims were being denied than were being paid. This seemed odd given BP’s incessant complaints and appeals. Indeed, it appeared to J.R. that BP was winning this battle, so why would the company want to scuttle a deal which was saving it billions?
The answer to that is still a mystery, but the ratio of claim denials to claim approvals has only worsened (from a claimant’s perspective). At last count, 28,771 claims have been denied while 15,028 have been approved. Denials are typically issued when a claimant cannot demonstrate a causal connection between BP’s spill and his or her losses, which, despite BP’s assertions, is a prerequisite for payment.
To hear BP tell it, all sorts of folks are winning the oil spill lottery, yet the company is fond of trotting out the same dozen or so examples of “undeserving” (in its opinion) compensation recipients. Even The Times of London, BP’s hometown rag, said last week that “it has emerged that not all the cases BP complains about are quite as cut and dried as the company makes them appear.” And, of course, there’s the 28,771 claimants whose tickets weren’t winners. BP is curiously silent on those.
Simply put, the privately negotiated compensation system is working as designed, paying only those who can document a loss as a result of the spill. In fact, it is working better than BP could have dreamed. Yet, apparently motivated only by greed, the company wants to draw more blood. The people of the Gulf are plumb out.
BATON ROUGE, June 2, 2014 – If you believed BP, you would think that Patrick Juneau, the court-appointed claims administrator, is passing out BP’s money to undeserving claimants willy-nilly. But the facts, as history has shown in this litigation, do not support BPs spin.
The claims administrator just released his monthly report. Table 4 tells the tale of the tape.
Table 4 shows that, thus far, Mr. Juneau has determined 12,447 claims eligible for payment. But he has denied or otherwise closed 15,384 claims (which includes 217 claims in which no payment was due under the settlement.) I’m no math major, so somebody double check my addition. But I am pretty sure that 15,384 is greater than 12,447. So that means that the court-appointed claims administrator has actually denied more claims than he has deemed eligible for payment.
This pesky little fact directly contradicts BP’s well-orchestrated public relations campaign to besmirch Mr. Juneau and the claims administration process. It once again compounds BP’s problem in which it says one thing, but the facts show another.
Any objective observer can see that Mr. Juneau is fairly implementing the agreed-to settlement. Every court that has looked at it has determined that. In fact, it looks to me that BP is getting more “wins” than “losses” in the claims process. But BP continues to try to unwind its contract. And in the meantime, the people and the businesses of the Gulf continue to wait for BP to honor its “Commitment to the Gulf.” BP, those folks and businesses are waiting — not winning. You are.