BP’s New Tactic in Oil Spill Claims: Go After the ‘Special Master’

BPPLC has been complaining for a year that money it has promised to pay to financial victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been doled out to unworthy, uninjured claimants. In courthouse filings and newspaper ads, BP has targeted companies it says were not really harmed by the accident and their lawyers, as the oil giant’s estimate of the tab ballooned from $7.8 billion to $9.4 billion.

Now the oil company is taking aim at the guy doing the doling: Patrick Juneau, who was appointed by a federal judge in New Orleans to administer claims under a settlement between BP and lawyers for businesses along the Gulf Coast.

Last week BP wrote a letter to former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who at the request of the court has been looking into alleged mischief and fraud in the Deepwater Horizon claims office. The company asked him to turn over reams of documents – including any related to Mr. Juneau’s knowledge of alleged wrongdoing.

Though Mr. Freeh’s reports on the fund have found fault with several officials who either resigned or were dismissed in the past six months, they have praised Mr. Juneau. BP apparently wants that to change.

“A strong tone on ethical issues from top management is lacking,” lawyers for BP said in the letter.

WSJ Law Blog