While the initial ruling was by no means smooth sailing, the details surrounding the payout of the multibillion dollar settlement against BP for the Deep Water Horizon spill appears to be murkier than gulf waters.
In ongoing battles with claims administrator Patrick Juneau, BP has attempted to reduce payouts and delay the schedule of those payouts to victims of the 2010 spill. Juneau asserted earlier this week that BP had gone through extraordinary measures to reduce the settlements connected to the spill and has been dragging its feet in an attempt to halt payments altogether.
Today the London-based oil company demanded that a federal judge throw out Juneau’s request for a budget of $ 111 million for fourth-quarter pay-outs. This is after Juneau refused to reduce the quarterly settlement by $25.5 million at the behest of BP. The company claims the additional $25.5 million is excessive.
In August, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled that BP should be responsible for more than $130 million for the third-quarter budget despite rumblings from the oil giant that those cost were also overblown.
Juneau argues that the continued pushback from the company is an attempt to stop payments altogether by entangling the settlement in litigation.
"The point will not be lost to any reasonable observer that 'defunding' the settlement program can have effects almost as devastating as stopping it," attorneys representing Juneau wrote in papers opposing BP in August.
In addition to ongoing budget arguments, the Wall Street Journal reports a group of oil-spill victims is attempting to have the settlement appealed due to what it sees as unfair settlement terms.
According to the appeal filed by Lawyer John Pentz, the current payment terms were a “reversible error for the district court to approve a settlement that was susceptible to an interpretation that undermines commonality and typicality, and permits the payment of settlement benefits to persons clearly outside of the class definition of intended beneficiaries.”