Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DHECC: BP responds to my story on the PSC expedited claims

After publishing my story on the email chain I received detailing efforts within the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center to expedite Plaintiff Steering Commitee's (PSC) personal claims ahead of other class claimants, I received a response from Claims Administrator, Patrick Juneau, implying that the PSC claims were expedited as part of "sampling program" in preparation for a fairness hearing that occurred in November of 2012, about six months after the office officially opened.

In that response, Mr. Juneau made the following statements:

"After discussion with the Court, BP and the PSC, it was determined that a larger number of claims should be examined before the fairness hearing so that the Court, the parties, objectors and claimants could see how the settlement program was working. "

and

"The Claims Administrator, with the knowledge and input of the PSC and BP, asked the PSC to provide a listing of such cases and a sampling was taken of those cases."

I then replied to the Claims Office asking them for a minutes entry from the Court of when this discussion took place but I have yet to receive a response.  I sent that request again today.

I also contacted BP's corporate office via email and asked them if they had participated in this discussion and if they were aware and approved the actions taken by the Claims Administrator as he stated.  I received and official response from BP's Head of Communications, Geoff Morrell:

"BP was aware of efforts by the Claims Administrator in the Fall of 2012 to get the CSSP up and running, including how to make the claims process more efficient and, correspondingly, increase the amount of claim payments in advance of the final approval hearing in November 2012.

However, there are other aspects of your blog postings -- including the e-mails from PSC members to the Claims Administrator you present -- that BP was not aware of, but we are concerned about them and are trying to look into them now."

While it appears the company was involved in "discussions" with the Claims Administrator it appears they may not have been aware that the PSC attorneys were expediting their own claims with the knowledge of Juneau.

I am still trying to find any court documentation of the discussions on the matter and I would like to find out if Judge Barbier was aware that the PSC claims were expedited as well.

Stay tuned.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

We'll now it looks like BP and some of the PSC members have unclean hands. BP had B&G install a script that allowed access to the claim data under GCCF this most likely gave them the time to create the causation V Trend that was sure to limit the offers. It also allowed them to come up with a cost assessment that started to run up when they lost controll of the QA dept when Paj allowed P&N to participate in March 2013.

Both BP & PSC agreed they needed better numbers just before the Fairness Hearing to sell it to the Judge. But what's interesting even after the PSC submitted claims to be expedited they never disclosed the flaws as they applied the language of the settlement to the claims submitted. I guess 600 million allowed them to turn a blind eye to what they agreed to.

Bottom line the settlement sucks no matter how you spin the numbers just look at the Denials for both Causation & incomplete documentation. What's surprising is BP isn't celebrating this huge victory.

I still have a few unanswered questions.

Why did BP & PSC include all of Lousiana, Mississippi,and Alabama in the settlement ?

Why are the maps outlined so close to Zip code maps when it was stated they were designed by heavily impacted areas?

Why do we have 484 Policies and how much influence
Did BP have in making them?

Keep pushing Jason even Paj has changed his position once he was on tour telling everyone to submit a claim. Now it's if " You don't meet the Test,we don't pay"

This has always been the case and the problem with understanding the settlement and interpretation. These issues prior to the FH are exactly why the judge should have delay the settlement .

Anonymous said...

Although I'm not on the PSC and would have liked to have some of my clients' claims expedited as part of the "sample," I don't think this is as big of an issue as it may appear at first glance. I even remember when they were doing this, but can't recall exactly how I knew. The claims reviewers probably mentioned it to me in response to a request for a status update on one of my clients's claims. Regardless, don't put any weight at all behind what BP says it did or did not know about regarding this issue. If we've learned anything through all of this, it's that BP either has Alzheimer's disease or it intentionally lies about what it knew, when it knew it, or what its intentions were at earlier stages of litigation. You can bet your bottom dollar that if BP says that they were part of the discussions but now claim that they didn't understand what was going on or didn't know about some particular element of the discussions or actions going on at the time, that what they really mean is:

"yes, we were well aware of and consented to the proposed actions, but now we have changed our minds and are desperately looking for a way to twist the facts surrounding that meeting into something that we can use in our appeals without losing all credibility in front of the court or being charged with perjury." I really enjoy your blog and think you are doing great work, but I just think it is incredibly naive for you to conclude from your review of the emails and you discussions with the PSC, Juneau, and BP that it "appears they may not have been aware that the PSC attorneys were expediting their own claims with the knowledge of Juneau." Do you REALLY think that is all BP would say about the situation if they could honestly argue that they weren't aware that the PSC was selecting the sample claims. They knew and had an opportunity to respond, object, or propose an alternative method,.....but they didn't,.....because, obviously, they didn't have a problem with it at the time. I don't think it was wise to select a sample that way because it wouldn't be "random" in the traditional sense of the word, BUT AT WORST all it did was let a few of their claims skip ahead in the queue. It didn't impact the amount or eligibility of the claim and it didn't harm any other claimants other to potentially delay them by a few days. It's not like expediting a few dozen, or even hundred of claims would cause a perceptible delay in the processing of any given claim that wasn't expedited.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon 2, that fascinates me that you don't think it's a big deal.

Louis Freeh thought a single claim that was expedited thought it was big enough deal to suggest people be criminally prosecuted for it.

And your clients don't think it's a big deal? Now that they're having to meet standards that the PSC's personal clients didn't in order to get their claim paid.

You don't think it's a big deal that so far I haven't been able to find any mention of the purported sampling program in the fairness hearing or any court documents which reference it?

For an attorney...you're a really forgiving guy.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

- thought...sic...

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

The other thing I find incredibly interesting is my blog stats. Those are really fun.

Anonymous said...

Rule 10 of the Settlement Agreement:
"New claims submitted shall be processed and evaluated in the order they are received. Non-deficient claims previously pending with the GCCF shall be processed and evaluated prior to any new claims filed after the creation of the Transition Process.”

1) Pat Juneau has admitted to violating Rule 10 by expediting claims for numerous attorneys that intended to object to the Settlement.

2) Pat Juneau has admitted to violating Rule 10 by expediting claims for PSC attorneys.

3) Pat Juneau had an obvious financial interest in seeing that the Settlement Agreement was approved at the Fairness Hearing. (Does anyone know how much he is getting paid to be the CA?)

4) The PSC had an obvious financial interest in seeing that the Settlement Agreement was approved at the Fairness Hearing.
($600,000,000)

5) The Fairness Hearing, and subsequent approval of the Settlement Agreement, was based on artificially presented and processed claims which did not show the actual, real life problems with causation and incomplete documentation.


Does anyone else see a conflict here? Where is Louis Freeh and his doctrine of unclean hands? Or is someone preventing the gravy train from stopping at the CA station?

Anonymous said...

But Freeh didn't really conclude that anything was expedited. He found evidence of an attempt to do so, but I don't think he confirmed that. He did confirm that a member of the neutral CAO received fees on some claims, but not that Sutton actually influenced its processing. To me, as a lawyer, that is a very different situation than some of the adversarial parties' attorneys who are on the PSC being allowed to select a certain number of claims to expedite to give the CAO more data to review,....especially when they did it after discussions with the court, the CAO and their opposing counsel. To be a scandal, they would have had to do it secretly in my mind. But, no, my clients don't care too much if the PSC expedited what amounts to a handful of claims at the request of the CAO and with BP's consent. None of that harmed them significantly, and that is not what caused the stay to be put into place and as a result indefinitely delay the processing of those claims. I've got plenty of clients who did get their claims processed and paid before the stay, but many others who didn't get so lucky. It's not like any of them would have gotten paid already had the PSC not expedited a few claims. Maybe one would. Not many though.

Also, no, I don't think its terribly odd that you can't find court minutes or other official communications between the PSC, BP and the CAO or court on this issue. ALL parties, the PSC, BP, CAO, and the court clearly intended many issues to be handled and discussed off the record. IF the parties were disputing the sampling method, you would have seen it in the record because if there isn't an agreement between the parties on a particular issue, then after the informal "off the record" attempts to resolve the dispute fail, they submit the issue to the court for final resolution and an "on the record" decision. Since there were no objections to the sampling method chosen, there was no need for the issue to be discussed in open court or otherwise on the record. I may be taking it a little too easy on the PSC on this issue, but I can't fault them too much when everything they did was done with the knowledge and consent of the CAO, opposing counsel and the court. We would have known about it if BP did disagree with the proposed method. It may have given the PSC an unfair advantage, but not a huge one and not because of corruption or fraudulent activity on their part.

By the way, I have no idea how common it is to handle things like this informally or off the record like they did here, BUT I do know that it is crystal clear that EVERYBODY involved understood and agreed to that approach. TONS of discussion over new policies, etc takes place off the record during the development of those policies. If ALL policies are handled the same way and we aren't complaining about that, then how can we complain all that much about one particular issue (the sampling) being handled the same way simply because doing so resulted in the PSC and some of their clients benefiting from the process? I just don't think this particular instance of expediting claims is all that evil.

If they did so regularly, and not pursuant to a specific request by the CAO, on the other hand, then that would be fairly serious misconduct in my mind.

There just seems to be worse misconduct than that going on. Ask P&N and PwC why they sometimes took over a year to process some claims that anyone even remotely familiar with the settlement could calculate ten times in a single day and could reconcile every single revenue and expense account to the tax returns multiple times in one day as well? Some claims were so ridiculously simple to evaluate and reconcile that the only explanation I can think of to explain the extremely long time the reviewers spent on the claim was because they just wanted to churn more fees for themselves by reviewing the claim over and over, and over, and over, and over, etc.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I follow about your blog stats....I guess you are talking about who visits it. I bet that would be interesting. I'm not hiding my interests though....I definitely represent claimants in the settlement, but mainly for clients I represent on a regular basis as their regulatory compliance/corporate attorney. I've never sued anyone before thou, so maybe my views of the PSC's actions are tainted by a lack of experience in litigation settings on my part. They seem to be doing a fine job to me, and anything that helped get that settlement approved is good for my clients so I have no complaints at this point.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

"But Freeh didn't really conclude that anything was expedited. He found evidence of an attempt to do so, but I don't think he confirmed that. He did confirm that a member of the neutral CAO received fees on some claims, but not that Sutton actually influenced its processing."

Wrong. He accused Reitano of this exact thing. He even went so far as to state that the "mere appearance" that she was attempting to expedite the Thonn claim was grounds for her termination and recommended criminal prosecution.

"especially when they did it after discussions with the court, the CAO and their opposing counsel. "

Read the BP response again...they said they had discussions but they were not aware of the subject matter in the email....why are you assuming they knew the PSC claims were expedited?

"Also, no, I don't think its terribly odd that you can't find court minutes or other official communications between the PSC, BP and the CAO or court on this issue. ALL parties, the PSC, BP, CAO, and the court clearly intended many issues to be handled and discussed off the record."

If Juneau did not discuss the PSC members claims being expedited with BP, but did discuss it with the Court...that would be an ex parte communication no? Then Barbier has committed a breech of protocol no? BP is stating they did not know about the PSC members claims being expedited whether it was for a "sampling program", which there seems to be record of anywhere in court documents, or otherwise. Do you not think something that important did not deserve the attention of all parties in the settlement? It's not that big of a deal? Really?

"There just seems to be worse misconduct than that going on."

Yeah...like the fraudulent seafood claims filed by the PSC firm listed in page 60 of Freeh's report? That's a bigger deal, I admit...but no one seems to worried about that either now do they?

I'm really having trouble understanding how in one breath you're saying that the PSC firms expediting their own claims...their LARGEST claims...as detailed in the Fayard email... ahead of others is not a big deal to you or your clients while in the next breath you are complaining about P&N and PWC's reviewing process.

You sound very much like an apologist for the PSC and Juneau while shifting blame to the court vendors. Am I missing something here?








Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

- no record of - sic

Anonymous said...

This BP mess is really outrageous. All of it is.

Did you hear that there was a spill into Lake Michigan recently?

I`m sure there are little spills all the time, but this was big enough for press coverage.

Tar Sands oil from Alberta gets processed at a facility near Lake Michigan. And there was a spill.

Like the spill that happened near Kalamazoo, Michigan a few years ago, details about how much oil got spilled aren`t always easy to get.

The Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in North America, and I think in the world. They provide drinking water to millions and millions of people, and water for what is left of the old industrial heartland, and yet even after what happened to the Gulf Coast, we`re all tolerating practices that put our water and ecosystems at risk.

And even AFTER what happened to the Gulf Coast, BP is mixed up in the spills!

Outrageous.

You`d think they might be more careful.

But why? I mean, bans on them are lifted now, and the claims process seems to be so thoroughly corrupted by lawyers who see this as an occassion for their own enrichment at the expense of the public trust-- hey, maybe it is so corrupted, BP will be able to appeal away every sanction placed on them!

So why should they care?

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

And anon, you represent clients mostly from Florida or Louisiana?

Anonymous said...

Since the court vendors have been brought up let's spend a little time on them. PWC and B&G both worked under Feinberg and the GCCF but now under control of Paj.
He places the budgets for them why hasn't he held them accountable for these delays in payments? Could it be they are also receiving directives from BP. Under GCCF it was clear B&G used and are still using insurance tactics not to pay claims. This is why Feinberg used a so called executive table that circumvented B&G that lead to his down fall.

The settlement was designed to be transparent but we have the same thing going on just with a different name.

Just one big power play with a fight over control on who gets paid and who gets screwed out of all legitimate claims.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

"The settlement was designed to be transparent but we have the same thing going on just with a different name.

Just one big power play with a fight over control on who gets paid and who gets screwed out of all legitimate claims."

Yes...yes...very much yes.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

And I'm not defending any of the vendors with the possible exception of PWC. I don't think P&N and PWC can be lumped into the same category as anon did. I've heard of many issues with P&N but I haven't heard of anything negative regarding PWC's performance or ethics.

If there is something there...by all means this a platform to air it out.

When I first suggested the PSC members were expediting their own claims I was told "It's not happening."

When I provided proof of it the response was "Well it's ok, all parties knew about it and it was part of a sampling program."

Now that I've shown at least one of the parties wasn't aware of it and there's no court documentation regarding the purported sampling program the response is, "Well it's no big deal anyway."

Really? Ok, I would really like to hear Louis Freeh and Judge Barbier respond to the matter. If they think it's no big deal, I would love to hear why. I would also like to know if Judge Barbier knew about it as Juneau stated.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

typing on phone...forgive my grammar and syntax errors.

Sutton said...

"But Freeh didn't really conclude that anything was expedited. He found evidence of an attempt to do so, but I don't think he confirmed that."

Annon, I assume the above statement is in reference to Mr. Freeh's allegations about me. Admittedly, I have not been provided with all of the "evidence", but I have seen no evidence of any attempt by me to expedite anything, other than the claim I expedited at Mr. Juneau's request, as set forth in my response memorandum. If you have such evidence, please show it. If not, you may want to reconsider your remark.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

"...other than the claim I expedited at Mr. Juneau's request"

Was that claim expedited as part of a "sampling" program?

Were you aware of any sampling program at the time you worked there that would warrant the PSC member's claims being expedited?

Why did Juneau expedite this particular claim?

Anonymous said...

Jason, you asked "why are you assuming they knew the PSC claims were expedited? " Let me clarify, I'm just assuming that BP was lying its ass off when they said that to you. It didn't sound like a firm denial to me. Are we to believe that they did participate in "discussions" about the sampling but somehow still didn't know what they were talking about? Maybe BP's lawyers didn't understand what they were discussing because, despite their $750+ per hour rates and extremely impressive educational and professional backgrounds, they were really just village idiots all along. That would explain why they drafted a 1,000+ Page settlement agreement that pretty much says the exact opposite of what they now claim they thought it said when they let their client sign it.

They admitted that they were aware of and were involved in the discussions, but then they make a vague allegation that SOME of the emails and other evidence you uncovered concerned them and that they are looking into it. HAD they NOT known about the PSC expediting claims, don't you think they would have flat out said they didn't know? I read you post and didn't see a single statement from them that directly disclaimed knowledge of the PSC expediting claims for the sample. I really don't mean to argue with you, but I think the better question would be why do YOU believe that BP DIDNT know about the PSC expediting claims when both the PSC and the CAO said that BP DID know about it.

By the way, I don't file ANY claims with the PSC or any of its members, and in fact NEVER met a single member of the PSC prior to getting involved in this case. I don't think I'm a PSC apologist at all.

My clients, by the way, are from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. I've never advertised in any way for this kind of work. My BP clients were already regular clients of mine for completely unrelated issues. I'm not sure why that's relevant to you, but I hide nothing, so feel free to call me up anytime to ask me anything you want about my claims, my experience dealing with reviewers, or my interactions with BP. I may not be able to disclose confidential client info, but will generally tell you everything I know about any area of interest. Seriously, feel free to call me anytime. You should be able to find me fairly easily using my email.

Again, I'm not trying to discredit your work, I just don't quite agree about the seriousness of this particular issue because you and I have different views of the evidence. You believe BP when they say they didn't know. I believe BP is lying when they say that. IF I held the same belief as you, I would likely change my impression of the seriousness of the situation. However, BP also claims that they had no idea claimants might get paid even if they weren't harmed by the spill. They claim they never intended the agreement to prevent parties from appealing individual claim decisions to the 5th Cir. They claim that they always thought that they were entitled to "claims data" prior to the issuance of a denial or eligibility notice. They claim that they didn't know that many claimants use cash basis financials and might qualify for causation solely based on fluctuations in revenue. They claim that they never intended the list of "variable" and "fixed" expenses to govern each expense's classification without examining whether they actually fluctuate or not. They claim a lot of things. Do you believe them very often? I don't.

Anonymous said...

Sutton, yes I was referring to your situation, but I wasn't implying that the "evidence" Freeh allegedly uncovered actually proved the things he implied. Actually I can't recall how he reached the conclusions he reached, but I do remember that it all sounded like it was going o be FAR worse than what was eventually released. Although I don't know all of the facts, and some aspects of the factual background laid out by Freeh were suspicious to me, when viewed from 10,009 feet it appeared to me that most of his "case" started falling apart quickly and he was never really able to prove anywhere near what we all thought he was setting out to prove. Honestly, I still can't figure out what is wrong with you receiving fees that you earned before taking the job, but I'm sure there were things that you, Juneau and others wishes you had done differently if it would have avoided the whole "scandal." You misread my comment though.....my point was that, whatever Freeh's allegations were (expediting or not), I didn't think that he actually substantiated his allegations. I didn't mean to say that he actually found REAL evidence of you doing anything at all, but that doesn't mean Freeh himself didn't consider what he found to be evidence in support of his allegations. His investigation seemed to be similar to the Penn State investigation.....lots of huffing and puffing upfront, a fairly scathing report, but not much substance to it upon closer inspection. His firm is the LAST investigation firm in the world that I would ever recommend a client of mine hire for an internal investigation. He seems to sensationalize the facts and draw unsupported or poorly supported conclusions. Internal investigations are about finding the truth. You don't know really know me, but you once intervened to fix a problem with one of my claims, or the payment on it or something like that. I forget exactly what was going on. One of the reviewers or a BG person got you involved? Maybe a lost check that needed to be reissued but nobody could figure out how to do that? I forget. Anyway, you were nothing but professional and quickly resolved the problem, whatever it was, so thank you for that and good luck in the future.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

BP said they were involved in discussions..they never said they discussed a "sampling program".

I believe everyone is lying...but in this instance I particularly believe Juneau is lying about these expedited claims being a part of sampling process. And I have very good reason to believe this.

I am asking the claims office for any proof that this sampling process existed and that these expedited claims were part of it. I can't find any proof and I'm asking them for rudimentary evidence, in the court record, that verifies there claim. So far...there is nothing.

If the stories I've heard about the claim Sutton said he expedited are true. I believe Juneau had this claim expedited for a personal friend and if that's the case it sets a precedent that calls into question all of the PSC's expedited claims that we know about and much, much more that we may not know about.

I'm curious if you've actually read the emails. Did you notice that in the directives given to Reitano she states that Pat decided they could only expedite three from that point on? Does that sound like they out of control to you and he was worried about it? It does to me.

BP clearly states in the response that they were unaware of the issues in the emails...that is the issue of he expedited claims. Once again, did you read the email chains?

You can say this isn't a big deal over and over...but it is.

And since you've stated you have nothing to hide, are your related to Juneau or any of the PSC members or do you have any joint business ventures with any of them?

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

Their claim...sic...still on phone

Sutton said...

"but you once intervened to fix a problem with one of my claims, or the payment on it or something like that."

I appreciate the rest of your comment, but I could have done without this part. It would be very typical of Mr. Freeh and his henchmen to ignore everything else on AZ and launch another attack on me.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon,

Here's another thing an AZ source just pointed out for me that I think you're missing.

The importance of the minute entry in this case is not for the Court, the PSC, Juneau or BP to necessarily keep track of what was discussed so much as it is to let claimants, non-PSC lawyers, and the general public know what is going on with the settlement.

Even if all the parties were having a "discussion" at the same time, if they weren't providing some type of legal recordation of the event and what the subject matter is then they are failing to disclose the processes of the settlement to the public.

It is not transparent as Juneau and Barbier have previously claimed. This is the EXACT issue that Barbier used to the collapse the GCCF under Feinberg.

If Barbier has discussed these issues with Juneau and the PSC without BP's knowledge, then he has participated in an ex parte conversation which is more serious than anything Freeh or I have uncovered.

And that brings me to a second point which is what the hell is Freeh getting paid to do?

I'm a single dude with no budget and I've uncovered multiple issues with the CAO and especially the PSC. If he has a team of over 40 people, millions of dollars and unbridled access to claim information and employee data....how the fuck has he not uncovered these issues?

And once again, don't tell me it's not a big deal...it is the EXACT deal of which Freeh accused Reitano..... x 409.

Sutton accepted a referral on a claim from before he even worked at the office....the page 60 PSC firm filed FRAUDULENT seafood claims. That's not a big deal?

Frankly, your dismissiveness of the issue is laughable. Especially considering you have clients who are now stuck in a black hole and can't get their claims paid while the PSC got a "ton and done" deal and are waiting on a 600 million dollar bonus check to boot.

Kevin said...


Anonymous (SP) at March 27, 2014 at 3:52:00 PM CDT

In a class action settlement, where the settlement has not received a final approval from the court, is it legal or ethical for Class counsel and other members of the PSC (extending to PSC firms, partners, associates, etc.) to collect attorneys' fees for any reason?

Anonymous at March 27, 2014 at 12:14:00 PM CDT:

Maybe add No. 6: The PSC had an obvious financial interest in expediting the claims of their personal clients.

And, not just any old claim, but "larger claims" like Fayard's client.

Was the DHECC trying to reach that magical Billion Dollar+ mark before the FH? Anything less would not have been impressive.



Anonymous said...

Agree to disagree....partially. I don't know anything about fraudulent seafood claims, but if anyone filed fraudulent claims, then that is definitely a big deal in my opinion. I was only talking about the admitted expediting related to the "sampling." Any other instance would be different to me.

"And since you've stated you have nothing to hide, are your related to Juneau or any of the PSC members or do you have any joint business ventures with any of them?"

I've never met Juneau and have ZERO family or other relations with him or anyone in his family or firm. Ditto for every PSC firm and, as far as I know, ANY of the lawyers in those firms OR their families. I barely even knew the name Steve Herman. I don't run in those legal circles and have, in fact, never stepped foot in a courtroom..,ever. I don't do litigation work normally. My ONLY investments of any kind are: my house, my law firm, and money invested in retirement and taxable investment accounts with a brokerage. I have no joint ventures or partnerships of any kind with anyone at all (other than my law firm,.....which is based in DC anyway). I don't "split" fees with any PSC firm or otherwise work with them on claims. I'm not connected with them or anyone else involved on any side of this litigation in any way (including court personnel).

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

Hmm...that looks like a disclaimer.

Moving on.....what are the odds this is just a fraction of the claims expedited?

Then shit gets more interesting, eh?

Kevin said...

Anonymous at March 27, 2014 at 12:26:00 PM CDT said:

"There just seems to be worse misconduct than that going on. Ask P&N and PwC why they sometimes took over a year to process some claims that anyone even remotely familiar with the settlement could calculate ten times in a single day and could reconcile every single revenue and expense account to the tax returns multiple times in one day as well? Some claims were so ridiculously simple to evaluate and reconcile that the only explanation I can think of to explain the extremely long time the reviewers spent on the claim was because they just wanted to churn more fees for themselves by reviewing the claim over and over, and over, and over, and over, etc."

Who is ultimately responsible at the CAO for this court vendor “misconduct?” Was this “misconduct” going on during August to November 1, 2012? If there were truly claims that were so ridiculously simple to evaluate and reconcile, then why did the court, Juneau, the PSC and BP decide it was better to give preferential treatment to clients of Class Counsel and PSC members (and some friends)?

Anonymous said...

"If there were truly claims that were so ridiculously simple to evaluate and reconcile, then why did the court, Juneau, the PSC and BP decide it was better to give preferential treatment to clients of Class Counsel and PSC members (and some friends)?"

To be fair, most of the claims I am talking about were filed and/or evaluated after the fairness hearing. I recall the speed of the reviews being reasonable for the most part prior to the fairness hearing. I remember the slow-down happening afterwards. The situations Im talking about are when, for instance, a claimant had P&Ls that only had one or two revenue lines (and not many total sales transactions), and not a whole lot of different expense accounts.....and everything reconciled with the tax return and bank statements/general ledger, etc. I am not a CPA, but the formulas are so simple that for some claims I could calculate the claim in no time at all, and reconcile everything quickly too. The claims would enter the "accounting review in progress" stage and remain there for 30-60 days while we answered reviewer questions, supplied requested supporting documentation, etc. Eventually it would move on to the "Accountant QA review in progress" stage, which was described as a "final quality check" and not a completely new review and recalculation of the claim. Presumably it would not take forever to complete that step, but we sometimes saw even simple claims get "stuck" in that final review stage for six months or more. IF the claim was simply waiting in line to be reviewed at QA stage for most of that time, that might explain it, but sometimes we knew they were actually reviewing it because we would get followup questions or some other indication. I would LOVE to hear the explanation of the reviewers, if any, who really did spend months at a time performing the final QA review on simple claims like the ones I'm talking about. Sometimes the amouns of the claim award were very small. There is NO WAY the reviews of some claims should have taken as long as they did. I remember a few situations where even very large and much more complicated claims were only in that final QA stage for 7 to 14 days, while at the exact same time, others were stuck there for half a year or more. We sometimes wondered whether the people reviewing some claims even know how to count, much less pass a CPA examination. Then again, ALL reviewers have always been VERY guarded about disclosing whether a claim was actively being reviewed versus just waiting in line to be reviewed, and they wouldn't disclose whether any particular review was being delayed because the parties were working out a policy affecting many claims.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

^^^

Wait a minute....who wrote the above comment? I'm confused.

I'm assuming it's not Sutton but it looks like someone who worked in the CAO. If you want to be anon. that's totally cool I am just confused where you commented before.

Anonymous said...

"...I don't think P&N and PWC can be lumped into the same category as anon did. I've heard of many issues with P&N but I haven't heard of anything negative regarding PWC's performance or ethics. "

Can anyone elaborate?

How can be the two vendors be differentiated from one another? Are their roles different from one another?


^^Anon
"...they wouldn't disclose whether any particular review was being delayed because the parties were working out a policy affecting many claims."

What do you mean by this statement? Were policies created after the fact to include/exclude specific types of claims?

Anonymous said...

Whoever it is seems to have received a lot more information on claims than the Andrys did.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

"...I don't think P&N and PWC can be lumped into the same category as anon did. I've heard of many issues with P&N but I haven't heard of anything negative regarding PWC's performance or ethics. "

Can anyone elaborate?"

I can't really elaborate at this time, mabye some other readers can. I have reported on the blog that P&N was added to the Quality control along with PWC back in June by the CA. I have heard various reasons for this...maybe an anon can provide more.

I was making that statement more or less to defend PWC's role in the settlement from the information I've heard up until now. By all accounts I've heard in the course of the story, I think PWC has gone by the book as much as possible and were even worried about some of the issues I've reported in the course of the story.

I'm not stumping for them, I'm just stating what I've been told.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

You may want to go back and read this article and watch the video I mad with the breakdown of the claims process per court vendor's role:

American Zombie: DHECC - Freeh's interests may not be so free

http://www.theamericanzombie.com/2013/10/dhecc-freehs-interests-may-not-be-so.html

Kevin said...


Anonymous at March 28, 2014 at 10:05:00 AM CDT said:

"I recall the speed of the reviews being reasonable for the most part prior to the fairness hearing. I remember the slow-down happening afterwards."

If your memory or records are accurate, then it's looking more to me like the Billion Dollar goal might have been ONE true reason to expedite claims, particularly "larger claims."

You remember the process slowing afterwards of the FH. "Afterwards" meaning after the Class Counsel and PSC members had personal client claims expedited, which presumably resulted in "holdback" fees paid by BP as part of the settlement agreement, PLUS a percentage of whatever the expedited client recovered.

At least some of the Class Representatives, whose own claims were obviously being expedited, were stopped in their tracks, and those Class Representatives are still waiting to have their claims reviewed and paid because the settlement has not become "final."

Also, it's still not certain any objectors' claims were actually paid - only the "review" of the objector claims was the directive from Class Counsel. Maybe they were paid.

It's just amazing that ENTIRE sampling exercise and results were not mentioned at the FH.

Kevin said...


To: Anonymous, Sutton, Anybody Who Knows:

Can Class Counsel or PSC members touch any of the Common Benefit FEES without prior approval of the court and a court order?

Have any Common Benefit fees been paid to Class Counsel or PSC members?

Anonymous said...

I posted the comment,...same anon who didn't quite agree with you about the seriousness of the sampling issue. You wouldn't have to work for the CAO or any vendors to know the things I said. All of that was communicated to anyone filing claims. I can't remember how many times they did it, but they occasionally created new terminology to describe the current "status" of each claim we filed. All law firms can see a daily report showing all claims we filed, are in processor filing, or just started working on. It reports lots of different info like the dates the registration and claim forms were filed, the current status of the claim, the last notice received (usually a taxpayer ID notice or incomplete notice if it is before they are finished reviewing), etc. They kept updating the different "status" categories with more descriptive titles. For instance, at first, "in claims review" and "in accounting review" were the only two statuses I saw that indicated they were looking at the claim. "Claims review" meant, at the time, that it was being reviewed by non-CPA reviewers (presumably on smaller, less complicated claims). "Accounting review" meant CPAs were looking at it. Later, "in claims review" just meant non-CPAs were entering basic data and performing really early steps, and then all would go into "in accounting review," but by then all that meant was it was waiting in line to be reviewed....not actually being reviewed. That caused a lot of confusion and questions about why reviews were taking so long, so they later created new "status" labels like "In accounting review, awaiting assignment to a CPA reviewer" (or something like that). Either way, our portals had a link to a glossary that defined each "status." They weren't always accurate, but it helped to get more descriptive terms.

By the way, the speed of the reviews seemed to mainly slow down because the reviewers were trying to address issues raised by BP in appeals of other claims. Well, that and them just getting more familiar with different types of claims and different issues that pop up. However, that only explains PART of the additional delays in my mind. I understand them documenting their review and/ the claimant's responses to followup questions more thoroughly in light of any remand or other decisions by an appeals panel or panelist, but that shouldn't turn what used to be a 3 month review into more than a year. All I know is that some of the reviewers, from both P&N and PwC, were dragging ass unnecessarily.....I suspect to create more work for themselves, but that's just speculation. I know many reviews take FAR longer than necessary, no matter how thorough of a review is performed. I did generally have better experiences with the PwC accountants than the P&N ones. P&N seemed to have more people right out of college who didn't even know as much about accounting as I do....and I'm just a lawyer who happens to have to work side by side with CPAs all of the time due to the nature of the work I do (reimbursement stuff & M&A). They just took a little longer though and sometimes asked completely irrelevant questions. However, a few P&N reviewers were excellent and very skilled. In fact, the best reviewer I ever came across was from P&N. That helps a ton when dealing with claimants who have really complicated financials (like ones with over a hundred different expense accounts), or ones that are part of a large chain with a single GIGANTIC tax return (I had one claimant with returns that exceeded 1,000 pages each year and covered hundreds of subsidiaries and billions of dollars in total revenue).

Anonymous said...

Some of you apparently don't file claims and haven't ever seen a law firm portal (or the information we are given though it & the website). There is actually a TON of information available to us that describes just about every aspect of the review process. Juneau issued some really detailed summaries as well. The only reason I know all of this info is because I've read just about everything the CAO or court has ever issued. We also get (scant) information from our "law firm contact" person from BG. They are mostly useless though.

" P&N was added to the Quality control along with PWC back in June by the CA. I have heard various reasons for this...maybe an anon can provide more."

I can tell you what I was told at least, and how it improved the program. I was told that at first both PWC and P&N could review claims, but only PWC could do the final "Accointing Quality Review In Progress" stage.....AND That only a handful of senior PWC reviewers could do that. So, two firms were calculating claims, but only a few people at one of them could do the final quality check. That bogged down everything badly. Finally, someone convinced them to allow some senior P&N people to do the QA stage too. That was a big help. It was getting ridiculously slow before that. The funny thing though is at the VERY beginning, it was actually a really fast process....like 8 days or so total once it went into review. Of course, one of the main reasons for that was probably because there were no backlogs at the very beginning. Still, given uninterrupted time to work, it shows how quickly they CAN review a properly documented claim. It helped a lot if the claimant had audited financials.

Anonymous said...

"What do you mean by this statement? Were policies created after the fact to include/exclude specific types of claims?"

No, the settlement agreement, implementation order, or some other official document says that the CA/reviewers can delay or put a hold on further processing of a claim if its review involves a policy issue impacting multiple claims. They can delay until they work out the policy at issue. For instance, say a reviewer is working on a claim from a claimant who moved their business location from an address in Zone A to one in Zone C in the middle of 2010. The settlement doesn't say which zone to use in calculation if the claim when half of the time they were in zone A (2007-mid 2010) and the other half they were in zone D (mid 2010-2011). Knowing that this issue might pop up in hundreds of other claims, but not knowing how to proceed, the reviewer might delay that claim until they work out how to approach the situation.

Dambala - Jason Brad Berry said...

I respectfully think you're wrong on many of your assumptions, including PWC and P&N dragging ass unnecessarily.

I hope to spell some of that out in the near future.

In the meantime, I hope to be able to post some info. next week that will clarify my points on why these expedited claims are a big deal and why I think there's great cause for concern.

Thanks for commenting...you're always welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Jason, request the budgets for the court vendors. I think you will find the motivation to slow the process down. I' ve spent a little time reviewing the CA reports and noticed a change more about "issued notices " than about payments and the growing number of pending appeals.

If I not mistaken I believe BP fought the 3rd quarter budget and complained about spending 1 billion for administration to pay out 3 billion to claimants.

B & G are the gate keepers they control the flow of claims that's why the PSC contacted them. Personally they should be prosecuted for killing and delaying claims. They are now court vendors but never changed the way they operated. But I' sure they have hold harmless clause another contract that should be made public.

PWC maybe smart enough not to get blood on their hands. But from time to time go overboard on the reconciliation document request. But Keep in mind PWC was instrumental in the calculation program the "true brains "of the operation. Might just be the man behind the curtain pulling the strings. Look into PWC's past and you will see ties going back 100 years.

For anyone writing a book great title "Death by Bean Counters " who's laughing now.

Anonymous said...

"All law firms can see a daily report showing all claims we filed, are in processor filing, or just started working on. It reports lots of different info like the dates the registration and claim forms were filed, the current status of the claim, the last notice received (usually a taxpayer ID notice or incomplete notice if it is before they are finished reviewing), etc."

Sounds exactly like the report Freeh claims that Andry Lerner should not have gotten. And speaking of transparency, when is this judge going to have a court hearing with witnesses and testimony under oath so that the public can find out what the hell is really going on.

Sutton said...

"when is this judge going to have a court hearing with witnesses and testimony under oath so that the public can find out what the hell is really going on."

Will never happen. There is a reason Louis Freeh argues against a hearing in every pleading he files. As Annon stated previously: "[Freeh] seems to sensationalize the facts and draw unsupported or poorly supported conclusions. Internal investigations are about finding the truth."

Unfortunately for my wife and I, in this instance the truth conflicts with the interests of the parties in control.