Thursday, February 27, 2014

DHECC - Special Master Blaster run Bartertown!

Yesterday, the Coastal Claims Group (CCG) filed a motion to dismiss Greg Paw's (Freeh Group) attempt to claw back money from the Thonn claim.  As AZ noted last month, Freeh and Paw must not have understood how claims and referrals work, as they severely overstated the amount of money they were attempting to claw back from the parties involved in the claim.

In CCG's case...they received nothing from the claim to begin with but Paw demanded they pay back $20,182.50.  Here is the motion to dismiss filed by CCG:

CCG Motion to dismiss motion of the special master for return of payments made to Casey C. Thonn and others

I was having a hard time believing my eyes as I was reading this last night.  CCG's attorney contacted Greg Paw to inform him that the special master was mistaken in including them in the claw back to which Paw replied:
“Please let us know if your client does contest the Court's jurisdiction, as we will then review whether the DHECC should continue to consider documents prepared by your client given your client’s [sic] assertion that it is not subject to the Court's oversight for such submissions.”  
Uhhh...what?  The motion called that a "thinly-veiled threat"....I would call it something else but it didn't stop there.  In a second email, within the week, Paw made the thinly-veiled threat clearer:
“[y]our client should be aware that how it addresses this motion will have a bearing on its future ability to play any role in the DHECC claims process.”
That....is what I would call extortion.  CCG can call it whatever the hell they want but I call it extortion...pure and simple.  The fact that Paw replied this way is harrowing.  The fact that he put the threats on paper (email) is either stupid beyond belief or brash beyond belief...or both.

Instead of recognizing they made a mistake...a tens of thousands of dollars mistake...Paw threatens CCG to either shut up about it and pay up or they will stop processing CCG's other claims.  I think that's the very definition of extortion, is it not?

 
I've been told Paw used to work for Chris Christie...I wonder who taught whom?

I will link the exhibits later.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unrelated to this: Any word on the aircheck-jammer1954 subpoena? Slabbed seems to have some commentary related to this, but they're so cryptic, I can't make much of 'em....thanks!

Anonymous said...

"the fact that he put the threats on paper (email) is either stupid beyond belief or brash beyond belief...or both."

Or he is sure that he can get away with it. Not brash, but calculating. As in "I know the judge won't (can't?) (afraid to?) do anything about it because ________"

The more that we see how he operates, the more possibilities are available to fill in that blank.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Sad to say I`ve had some personal experience of Louisiana assholes putting serious threats in e-mail form, and asserting their power, in writing, to behave as if the rule of law was for chumps... unless the threat of the power of a corrupted legal system turned against the weak or outsiders was needed.

I`ve seen people bullied out of a lot more than this. (But those people are alive, and against all odds, thriving.)

Also sad to say, the more I see or read, the more I think the corrupt bullies within the system may know the nature of the beast they serve.

Kevin said...

"Coastal Claims Group, LLC was formed on March 18, 2012 for the sole purpose of assisting attorneys and law firms in calculating the economic losses of individuals covered by the Settlement Agreement reached between BP and the plaintiffs in this litigation."

Well, let's see. There were NO settlement documents available to the public or ordinary law firms and ordinary CPA's until April 18 or so. And, when the settlement document was finally filed, it was over 1,000 pages that no one could understand.

How did the principals with CCG get advanced knowledge that a settlement was going to be proposed that would require CPAs to evaluate claims for attorneys or claimants?

Was there a claims formula of some kind that CCG had already downloaded on its computers?

Anonymous said...

Paw is not a "Louisiana asshole".
His firm, the firm now running the entire settlement program, is from DC.

Kevin. Juneau was hired in Jan/Feb. While the specific details may not have been made public, by March most attorneys knew that accountants would be needed for business claims. Particularly attorneys that were dealing with the GCCF.

Ricki Ticky said...

So, that's why law firms started up accounting firms?

Kevin said...

Anonymous at February 27, 2014 at 7:36:00 PM CST:

Who hired Juneau in January or February?

Were accountants/CPAs needed by businesses to file claims with the GCCF before Juneau was hired?

Was there a computer program specifically designed for the claims process that was available to attorneys or accountants before Juneau was appointed on March 6, 2012 to run the DHECC?



Anonymous said...

169 hours for a 9 page report

Anonymous said...

History lesson
The proposed settlement was released before May 2, 2012 not sure of the date it was Doc 6276 but the judge did grant a motion for preliminary approval on that day.

Read B. Overview of the proposed settlement top of the page 5 this will be the next issue as it details Class membership defined by (1) geographic bounds (Zones) (2) the nature of their loss or damage (RTP).
This was a joint motion prepared by both parties seeking approval. But Bp is now challenging the causation again this will play out when the new policy addressing the matching and smoothing of revenue comes out.

http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/OilSpill/Orders/05022012Order(EconomicSettlement).pdf

The amended agreement was released on May 3, 2012 minor changes made.

http://www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/docs/Amended_Settlement_Agreement_5.2.12_optimized.pdf#search

I believe a calculation program was in circulation by then most firms started building it from scratch.

In-Hale

Kevin said...

In-Hale:

Thank you for the lesson. Do you have any additional information?

What "calculation program" was in "circulation" before May 2012?

Who developed that calculation program?

How did law firms, start-up accounting firms and "claims groups" acquire access to the calculation program?

How long before May 2012 did the calculation program go into circulation.

Was it a calculation program that was being used in making business claims at the GCCF?

Did that calculation program mirror the program being used by the DHECC?

When was Danny Clavier hired at the CAO?

What, exactly, did he do for the CAO?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anon-- have you read this blog, like ever?

Why on earth would you put ``Louisiana Asshole`` in quotation marks as if it was a shocking thing to say?

It is not as if the state is hurting for assholes. And lots of them go into law.

Thanks for the reminder that Paw is from DC, but I`d argue that maybe Louisiana kind of taught those DC boys how to play, especially when they come into LA, huh?

He`s not pulling anything without some kind of local OK from a local boss of some kind.

It`s like dogs pissing on tree trunks.

So, Homestate, there`s no need to get cute.

And you might figure than anyone posting here probably also knows plenty of people from Louisiana who are in the non-asshole, (or at least, not-regularly-an-asshole) category of person.

Or why would we care?

Live in Louisiana, used to live in Louisiana, love people who live in Louisiana-- or why else read the blog?

Everyone reading or posting here has enough of a stake to count.

We`ve just heard Jason on the BS involved in the idea of culture bearers claiming to be authentic representatives of the culture they are in the process of simplifying and commodifying.

You can`t celebrate immigrant culture and hybridized mixed cultures on the one hand, and then get pissy when someone says something negative, but their IP address suggests to you they aren`t allowed to slam your momma state.

So are you about a radical openness, or does the energy and opinion of those you deem outside the group (without hearing from them why they feel they have the right to pay attention like an insider)bug you?

How deep does one have to scratch to find a little bit of Klan?

Who are you to know what the links a commenter has to Louisiana, asshole or non-asshole Louisiana?

The experience of bad shit is real enough. The connections are deep enough to continue caring.

Do you want complex, mature, world historically important culture everyone cares about...

... or do you want to be Reese Witherspoon socking Candace Bergen for insulting her mama?

Should someone get you a subscription to Garden and Gun?

If you want to be relevant beyond the borders of the state, as in, the rest of the world should give a shit if you might wash away, yo mama`s fair game.

If she plays dirty, we are going to to talk about it whether we still live in Louisiana or not.

You want critiques to stay in the family?

``Chez Nous`` is global now.

Worry about slapp suits for brave blog writers would be about the only reason to avoid posting something, and trust me, I think about this.

Shit, IP notwithstanding, we may even have our own reasons for caring about the claims process, and the rest of the post-spill, post-flood, political mess that interferes with the rest of the stuff we like about Louisiana.

Some of us have met some Grade-A prime assholes who happen to reside in Louisiana-- though I`ll give you that in my personal experience one comes from Texas and another from Alabama, but at least a few are home grown.

Louisiana has exported a bumper crop of assholes to more Northern climes-- just ask Doug over at Slabbed about that.

Save the air quotes for charades night with your wife and her pals.

Louisiana has assholes. Don`t pretend to be shocked.

And ANYONE from ANYWHERE is allowed to notice that, and free to speak truth safely, if your Constitutional principles about speech are for real.

(Sorry, Zombie, Friday night dinner got me slightly drunk. Shabbos, man.)

Anonymous said...

Slightly? The quotes were only to indicate what I was responding to. My point was that we do have more than our share of assholes here, no need to take credit for one that's not homegrown.
That said, this guy Paw is special. We don't have very many like him.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah...I have to agree with the last Anon. Paw is a special kind of asshole. I know things I haven't posted and believe me...this guy is a sadist of different order.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

But hey...drunk posts are da' bomb. Fortunately you guys don't have to sign your name to them....mine live in perpetuity. :)

Anonymous said...

Kevin, the first draft of the settlement was released April 18, 2012 Doc 6276 that is correct. At that time the public had access to claim categories, zone applications, classifications of Tourism /Non-Tourism, calculation examples, causation trends, document requirements and details of excluded claims.

Under GCCF there wasn’t a standard methodology used in determining losses and no published policy for reimbursement of accounting fees. In March 2011 as GCCF started the interim claim stage (this was for anyone who refused to settle or take the infamous quick pay from Fienberg) we gathered enough data to apply our best loss methodology and what they called a (LOI) Loss of Income. To my recollection it wasn’t until June 2011 that the payment and offer letters indicated that Accounting Preparation and Damage Assessment were available.

One point I’d like to make BP was on the hook for three years of losses, GCCF was OPA compliant and several claimants continue losses in 2011 new settlement only allows losses for 2010.

What "calculation program" was in "circulation" before May 2012?

I personally made several request for a copy of the calculation program so we could evaluate claim values so that we could determine if the claimant should exercise the Out-Out provision. Each time the response was NO we do not have a copy that can be released. We had to convert the language of the settlement into a program which we did and the results were less than impressive when applying the NAIS code and RTP multipliers. Currently our calculation program is +/- 1% within the calculated amount of the offer received.

Who developed that calculation program?

If a BEL program was available it was made by the court vendors Pricewater Cooper. Brown & Greer would have had the IEL version they handle them.

How did law firms, start-up accounting firms and "claims groups" acquire access to the calculation program?

Unknown several accounting firms partner with law firms, several accounting firms charged law firms outrageous fees to create a calculation program. If you research you will find several accounting firm practicing law and entering contingence agreements or what the call common benefit charges review SWS-38 they now need to disclose these contracts.

http://www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/docs/sworn_statements/SWS-38.pdf

How long before May 2012 did the calculation program go into circulation?

Unknown I’m sure drafts and adjustments were made for beta testing.

Was it a calculation program that was being used in making business claims at the GCCF?

The same vendors ran GCCF the data was already entered from all the claims submitted. For them to say none of the data was used in forming the new program goes beyond reason. Ask how BP came up with the projected cost of the settlement.

Did that calculation program mirror the program being used by the DHECC?

As part of DHECC settlement the PSC promised a crystal clear transparent process this has slowly been eroded.

http://www.deepwaterhorizoneconomicsettlement.com/docs/Alert_Removal_of_View_Current_Last_Review_Screens_for_Incompleteness_Notices.pdf

Kevin said...

Anonymous at March 1, 2014 at 11:44:00 AM CST

You said:

"I personally made several request for a copy of the calculation program so we could evaluate claim values so that we could determine if the claimant should exercise the Out-Out provision. Each time the response was NO we do not have a copy that can be released."

Was a copy of the calculation program available for purchase?

Were members of the PSC, or any person(s) acting on their behalf, provided with a working copy of the calculation program before March 2012?

You also said:

"If you research you will find several accounting firm practicing law and entering contingence agreements or what the call common benefit charges review SWS-38 they now need to disclose these contracts."

Excellent point! I have wondered about CPAs and claims groups advising claimants on legal issues, and/or being paid a percentage of the funds recovered.


Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

"If you research you will find several accounting firm practicing law and entering contingence agreements or what the call common benefit charges review SWS-38 they now need to disclose these contracts."

Do these accounting firms have legal malpractice insurance? How could they possibly obtain it?

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

And by the way...who is the primary insurance company arbitrating this whole matter?

Lloyds? Barbier? Who is the fucking agent here?

Anonymous said...

Kevin
Was a copy of the calculation available for purchase?

We didn’t receive an offer to purchase one. If one was available we would have, the cost to create ours was very expensive and needed in the assessment of each claim. Anyone without it couldn’t advise the client properly to Opt-Out or stay in the settlement. It put extreme pressure on us and most likely everyone processing claims given the Out-Out deadline prior to the Fairness Hearing.

Were members of the PSC,or any person(s) acting on their behalf, provided with a working copy of the calculation program before March 2012?

We’ve heard rumors of this I have nothing to support it some groups, PSC and CPA’s claimed they had a copy or assisted in the process. It was used as a ploy to recruit new clients many examples exists on line.

New: CPA’s and GCCF
You have to understand Fienberg ran a document gathering program and cost assessment project. The first thing he did was put money on the streets in the form of emergency payments. These were based on projected losses and yes several payments made with little to no verification. His town hall meeting trigger everyone to submit the data he needed no need for attorneys a do it yourself simple project, but then he decided what types of claims he would pay.

Examples: He installed a zip code program if you review the new zone in the settlement maps you will see some of the same lines.

Fienberg installed an industry guideline no matter what was submitted on that claim he wouldn’t pay it. But he got what he needed the data. This is now the NAICS code or classification of Tourism or Non-Tourism remembers GCCF paid everyone a multiple of a 1 RTP now several are reduced to .25

The CPA’s had what he needed basically they were used most of them lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost calculation fees when the PSC took over. All the calculation invoices preformed under GCCF were rendered obsolete. We are now facing the same issue again millions have been spent by firms and BP wants a new calculation program that includes smoothing and matching. Great if you’re a court vendor it will give them total control over the process and possible allow them to charge more than the claim payment. This will be known as the Claimants Death March with new document request that can’t be satisfied currently 32,481 claims incomplete and causation denials.

Any changes now to the calculations will be solely based on the captured data and court vendors recommendation let’s see who fights or defends these changes.

In Hale

Anonymous said...

Kevin
Was a copy of the calculation available for purchase?

We didn’t receive an offer to purchase one. If one was available we would have, the cost to create ours was very expensive and needed in the assessment of each claim. Anyone without it couldn’t advise a client properly to Opt-Out or stay in the settlement. It put extreme pressure on us and most likely everyone processing claims given the Out-Out deadline prior to the Fairness Hearing.

Were members of the PSC, or any person(s) acting on their behalf, provided with a working copy of the calculation program before March 2012?

We’ve heard rumors of this I have nothing to support it some groups, PSC and CPA’s claimed they had a copy or assisted in the process. It was used as a ploy to recruit new clients many examples exists on line.

New: CPA’s and GCCF
You have to understand Fienberg ran a document gathering program and cost assessment project. The first thing he did was put money on the streets in the form of emergency payments. These were based on projected losses and yes several payments made with little to no verification. His town hall meeting trigger everyone to submit the data he needed, no need for attorneys a do it yourself simple project, but then he decided what types of claims he would pay.

Examples: He installed a zip code program if you review the new zone in the settlement maps you will see some of the same lines.

Then Fienberg installed an industry guideline no matter what was submitted on that claim he wouldn’t pay it. But he got what he needed the data. This is now the NAICS code or classification of Tourism or Non-Tourism remembers GCCF paid everyone a multiple of a 1 RTP now several are reduced to .25

The CPA’s had what he needed (the data) basically they were used most of them lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost calculation fees he agreed to in mid 2011. But when the PSC took over all the calculation invoices preformed under GCCF were rendered obsolete. We are now facing the same issue again millions have been spent by firms and BP wants a new calculation program that includes smoothing and matching. Great if you’re a court vendor it will give them total control over the process and possible allow them to charge more than the claim payment.

This will go down and known as the Claimants Death March with new document request that can’t be satisfied. And claimants that once passed the causation test now have failed currently 32,481 claims incomplete and causation denials.

Any changes now to the calculations will be solely based on the captured data and court vendors recommendation(who's side do you think their on) let’s see who fights or defends these changes.

In Hale

Anonymous said...

Kevin
Was a copy of the calculation available for purchase?

We didn’t receive an offer to purchase one. If one was available we would have, the cost to create ours was very expensive and needed in the assessment of each claim. Anyone without it couldn’t advise a client properly to Opt-Out or stay in the settlement. It put extreme pressure on us and most likely everyone processing claims given the Out-Out deadline prior to the Fairness Hearing.

Were members of the PSC, or any person(s) acting on their behalf, provided with a working copy of the calculation program before March 2012?

We’ve heard rumors of this I have nothing to support it some groups, PSC and CPA’s claimed they had a copy or assisted in the process. It was used as a ploy to recruit new clients many examples exists on line.

New: CPA’s and GCCF
You have to understand Fienberg ran a document gathering program and cost assessment project. The first thing he did was put money on the streets in the form of emergency payments. These were based on projected losses and yes several payments made with little to no verification. His town hall meeting trigger everyone to submit the data he needed, no need for attorneys a do it yourself simple project, but then he decided what types of claims he would pay.

Examples: He installed a zip code program if you review the new zone in the settlement maps you will see some of the same lines.

Then Fienberg installed an industry guideline no matter what was submitted on that claim he wouldn’t pay it. But he got what he needed the data. This is now the NAICS code or classification of Tourism or Non-Tourism remembers GCCF paid everyone a multiple of a 1 RTP now several are reduced to .25

The CPA’s had what he needed (the data) basically they were used most of them lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost calculation fees he agreed to in mid 2011. But when the PSC took over all the calculation invoices preformed under GCCF were rendered obsolete. We are now facing the same issue again millions have been spent by firms and BP wants a new calculation program that includes smoothing and matching. Great if you’re a court vendor it will give them total control over the process and possible allow them to charge more than the claim payment.

This will go down and known as the Claimants Death March with new document request that can’t be satisfied. And claimants that once passed the causation test now have failed currently 32,481 claims incomplete and causation denials.

Any changes now to the calculations will be solely based on the captured data and court vendors recommendation(who's side do you think their on) let’s see who fights or defends these changes.

In Hale

Anonymous said...

Jason: Do these accounting firms have legal malpractice insurance? How could they possibly obtain it?

I don’t believe they do, and the industry frowns upon or discourages these types of arrangements remember they are licensed CPA’s bean counter a small part of the process. I’m sure you can research the industry I would love to pay my account a contingency fee based on how much he saved me on my taxes.

But I will say they are part of the bigger plan. If you were B&G or PWC would you like to fight against a trained expert or an individual working on one claim?

The other issue is the appeal process these CPA’s or individuals don’t have a chance against the BP attorneys when deadlines and appeals need to be filed.
In Hale

Anonymous said...

Off-topic... Have you Had a chance to look at those nice new sqft drawings on the assessors site? Maybe compare the appraisals on some one and two story homes next to each other around the city?

Kevin said...

Anonymous/In Hale at March 2, 2014 at 6:10:00 PM CST

"We didn’t receive an offer to purchase one. If one was available we would have, the cost to create ours was very expensive and needed in the assessment of each claim. Anyone without it couldn’t advise the client properly to Opt-Out or stay in the settlement. It put extreme pressure on us and most likely everyone processing claims given the Out-Out deadline prior to the Fairness Hearing."

Was it in the best interest of BP and the PSC to limit the number of opt-outs? On the other hand, it sounds like anyone who had access to a copy of the actual calculation program could have realized significant advantages over those who did not?

"Were members of the PSC,or any person(s) acting on their behalf, provided with a working copy of the calculation program before March 2012?

We’ve heard rumors of this I have nothing to support it some groups, PSC and CPA’s claimed they had a copy or assisted in the process. It was used as a ploy to recruit new clients many examples exists on line."

Logically speaking, someone acting on behalf of the PSC had to have a part in developing the program, at least to protect the interests of the plaintiffs and to determine the accuracy, faults and fairness of the program. I guess the same would be true for BP – its lawyers, CPAs and computer people had to test the program for numerous reasons.

Do you know of any instances where member firms of the PSC sent mass email to non-member firms of the PSC looking for co-counsel agreements? This could have been done as early as March 8, 2012.

Anonymous said...

Lighting Round

Yes, the magic number of Opt-Out was sealed in the envelope, hit the number BP would have pulled out of the deal. No money for the PSC!!!

Yes, the settlement created winners and losers. Individuals without counsel didn’t have a chance to understand the settlement complexities and fine print. Plus tens of thousands of claims are now being worked on that will never see a dime watch the denials grow. BP is trying to trim the winners and no one is fighting for the losers.

Unknown if they did they had a huge advantage.

Logically speaking a program was developed and demonstrated to both parties. Claims that had adequate data P&L’s and tax returns with slight yearend adjustments would have been selected in a variety of claim categories. That evidence should be submitted to the judge and used to demonstrate during the development stage the matching issue was addressed and agreed upon.

I’ve seen several efforts and invitations starting back in the GCCF era. Strength in numbers referred to blocks or buckets of claims. This is not uncommon this is often used to get a sit down with the responsible party and knock out each bucket with similar traits. Let’s refer to them as fishermen some catch and some clean them up, how many boats and nets decides how full your buckets are when you pull in to port for the weigh in. These guys are not always lawyers there whalers, trawlers, tuna cowboys, Bubba Gump’s and sometimes bottom feeders using (pots & traps).