Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Barbier names Louis Freeh to investigate Juneau's office

Judge taps ex-FBI director Louis Freeh to probe alleged misconduct by BP spill claims lawyer

"The top attorneys representing plaintiffs in the spill settlement, Stephen Herman and James Roy, said in a statement: “We welcome Mr. Freeh’s appointment, and are confident that any impropriety, if confirmed, will prove to be an isolated incident. 
“We continue to have full confidence in Pat Juneau, who for more than a year, has led the Court Supervised Settlement Program with the utmost integrity, competence and thoroughness.” 
Juneau said in a statement “we wholeheartedly endorse the investigation by Mr. Louis Freeh. Since we initiated the Deepwater Horizon Claims Process on June 4, 2012, our mission has been to process claims in a fair, efficient and transparent manner. This type of investigation is consistent with our goal of transparency of the claims process.”"

I'm sure they have full confidence in Juneau.  The question is, "Should we, the public, have any confidence in any of them?"

2013-07-02 Order Appointing Special Master - Freeh [Doc 10564].pdf     


Anonymous said...

Same old, same old....its all for show!

Kevin said...

You can't make this up: the appointment of a former Clinton appointee, by a current Clinton appointee, to find out if the operation of a potentially multi-billion dollar source of income for a large group of long-time Clinton donors has possibly done something wrong?

Seriously, several of the plaintiff attorneys could call Bill or Hillary Clinton personal friends. How many times have Bill and/or Hillary been guests at the Wedding Cake house on St. Charles since 1993? Far more times than the Obamas, I bet.

In all fairness, Mr. Freeh was appointed as a federal judge by George H. W. Bush. Lots of ties to the oil business by the Bush and Cheney families.

Maybe that makes him the uber-neutral investigator for this.

Maybe BP knows Mr. Freeh will find something that will stop everything in its tracks. It could be something the 5th Circuit may need to consider? It's difficult for me to believe BP doesn't have its own sources of information, traditional or otherwise, from the claims center. They must have something they're going to reveal to him.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Kind of like the uber-neutrality of Feinberg?

Jason Brad Berry said...

Which the uber-neutral Federal Judge Barbier called into question in order to collapse the GCCF and pull everything into the uber-white wedding cake house on St. Charles?

Jason Brad Berry said...

No matter how many turds you throw against that house, it just seems to slide right off.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Just a note: the original $20B was not a cap on BP's liability, but the negotiated amount of cash to be placed, in installments, into an escrow fund against future claims. In no way was it ever intended to represent a fixed terminus to what BP would have to pay ("Administration officials said that $20 billion was neither a floor nor a ceiling on BP's financial responsibility," Jonathan Tilove).

The $7.8B was an uncapped settlement with a group of private plaintiffs, so no ceiling there either. I agree BP's posture is obscuring that point, because they're screaming about claims inflation and declaring that although the $7.8B was only a starting point, they thought it represented a fair estimate of the total:

"Malcolm Bracken, oil analyst from stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the company failed to see the consequences of the settlement when it originally set aside the provisions.

He said: 'The problem is they've written a blank cheque to the businesses of Louisiana and not asked them to prove causality, ie: 'Was it the well spill that actually caused you problems at your business?'

'You can argue it is being abused, but that was the settlement they made and they are trying to wriggle out of it'" (BBC).

The good news is there is no foreseeable way for them to wriggle successfully. :) ---muspench

Kevin said...


Isn't that just like lawyers to overlook ethics and moral issues when there is a pot of money to raid?

Kevin said...

I have to add 1 more Clinton appointee in the mix - Justice Dennis (Class of '95).

Anonymous said...

Ha! Yes, hourly billing may be the staff of life, but never underestimate the potential of the contingency fee. :) Re ethics/moral issues: I agree that when you put BP's attorneys in the same room with the local plaintiffs' bar, what emerges will be unrelated to either, but think about what justice-- REAL justice-- might look like in this particular case.

I tried doing that for a few minutes and discovered I didn't have any clear idea of how to achieve it, because I don't know how to punish BP for killing 11 men and undermining an ecosystem, much less all the collateral damage, nor would I know how to make full reparation to the injured parties. There's no punishment sufficiently severe, nor reparations sufficiently efficacious, available within the confines of our court system, so we ended up with a neutral settlement formula.

Here's how that agreement was originally reported:

"The parties announced the framework of an agreement in early March, with BP estimating it would end up paying $7.8 billion to claimants in the class -- in addition to the $7 billion the oil giant had already paid claimants over the past two years, either directly or through administrator Kenneth Feinberg.

The specifics of the two settlements -- how payments would be calculated and which claimants would be excluded from the class -- came out last month, and last week the plaintiffs and BP went before Barbier and explained how they arrived at the various payment formulas" ( http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2012/05/bp_settlement_wins_preliminary.html ),

There were some minor complaints from various classes of plaintiffs on specifics, but the principals to the agreement seemed entirely in harmony. Only now that BP sees it underestimated either the number or the average value of the qualifying claims is BP pitching fits, and court settlements just don't allow for reversal due to buyer's remorse. :)

I'm glad I happened on this thread for a second time months down the road, because as of now all we have are contested allegations of claims fraud in Mobile plus uncontested problems with claims attorney Sutton & Reitano. I can't see that anyone has received money they shouldn't have received based on BP's accusations of fraud, though, and I've heard those accusations were motivated by a proposed hostile takeover bid made possible by the financial hemorrhage.