Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DHECC: Up is down

Forgive my confusion, I was going back through the fairness hearing transcript over the weekend and I ran across Mr. Juneau's testimony to the court regarding the success rate of the claims process....here is that conversation between Judge Carl Barbier and Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau:

THE COURT: Have you ever before, either as a lawyer or
as a claims administrator, seen a program where, in advance of
even court approval, whether or not the court has approved this
settlement, there is a claims administration office set up, and
claims are being paid?

MR. PATRICK JUNEAU: No, sir. I can tell you, not one
case, and I think I've been maybe a special master 40 or
45 times, from California, to the East Coast, to Minnesota, I
have never, ever been in a case and never heard of a case --
there may be one, but not to my knowledge -- that ever
authorized the processing and payment of claims before a
fairness hearing. This is the first. This is the first case
I've ever been involved in.
Which means you're a year ahead of the learning
curve and a year ahead of the timeline in getting the money
out. That's number one.
The second part of your question was, in terms of
when allocations go out and the acceptance rate, I have never
had, in all of the cases I've been involved in, nor any of the
ones that I have knowledge of, have approached that acceptance

THE COURT: How would you compare this settlement
program, from your perspective being involved in this one and
being involved in other ones, in terms of the speed, I guess,
with which it has started, got up and running, and the speed
with which it's paying claims?

MR. PATRICK JUNEAU: Well, in the railroad world, I
would say this is the Panama Limited of processes. I've never
been involved in a project that has gotten up this quick, had
the involvement with the volume we had to deal with, and to
either have started it earlier or gotten it paid this quickly.

It's been a remarkable experience for me.

Now, this is the response Mr. Juneau sent me as to why the PSC members' claims were expedited:

In response to your recent inquiry, we thought that you should be made aware of the actual facts. In the fall of 2012 the DHECC Program was fast approaching the fairness hearing and the opt-out deadline.  To avoid confusion as to who should opt-out versus who should stay in the class, it was important for the class as a whole to have a representative sample of paid claims across all of the claim types in order for them to assess which was the better path forward for them.  This could not be accomplished in the time required using the first-in/first-out (FIFO) method outlined in the Settlement Agreement, which method had been used for the summer of 2012, because many of the claims were incomplete and therefore not ready for processing.

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.  As noted above, since the program had encountered problems with a lot of the claims not having complete documentation it was difficult to come up with claims that could be analyzed and determined, so a sample of sufficiently documented claims was needed.

So I'm a little confused. No...I'm very confused.

In the fairness hearing, Mr. Juneau told the judge that everything was going just swimmingly.  In his response to me he states that there were so many problems with incomplete claims coming in that they had to expedite the PSC claims to use them as samples for the fairness hearing.

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere in the fairness hearing can I find any mention of the results of the purported "sampling" initiative.

So far I have not received a reply from the Claims Office in my request for the minutes entry of the conversation which they said took place between the Claims Office, the PSC, BP and the court.  It is my understanding that if any conversation took place with the court, there must be a minutes entry.

If I don't receive a reply from the CA, I'm going to make the request for the minutes to the court (Judge Barbier) and ask him if he was aware that the PSC claims were expedited.  Hopefully we can get some answers. 


Anonymous said...

Ever since BP started complaining to the Court about Juneau's interpretation of the settlement agreement in January 13, I have thought that it was all just buyer's remorse. Reluctantly, I am beginning to think that they may have a point.

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is where we stand:
* In the fall of 2012, with the fairness hearing and opt out deadlines approaching, Juneau, the program, could not provide a representative sample of paid claims across all claim types because many of the claims were incomplete and not ready for processing. - Juneau response to AZ.
* Rather than extend the deadlines, or develop a working program, Juneau decided to let the PSC unilaterally pick claims to be processed. - Juneau response to AZ.
* At the fairness hearing Juneau reports to the Court, the Public and BP that claims were already being paid and that he was "a year ahead of the learning curve and a year ahead of the timeline in getting money out. - Fairness Hearing Transcript.
* December of 2012 the Court approves the settlement, in part, on Juneau's representations at the Fairness Hearing.
* In January of 2013, BP files its first complaint that Juneau is improperly processing claims in violation of the Settlement Agreement.
* Class Counsel and Juneau argued that BP was being disengenuos because that agreed at the hearing that the Settlement was fair.
* The Court issues the first of a number of stays of the processing of claims.
* The 5th Circuit agreed with BP.
* Juneau is now at least a year BEHIND the timeline in getting the money out.

Is there any wonder why this program is in the mess it is in? The entire approval was based on false representations. Instead of rushing to a fairness hearing, all of these issues should have been addressed in a timely and transparent manner.

Maybe the fairness hearing would have been pushed back a few months. Maybe there would have been a few more objectors. Maybe the PSC would not have gotten their own claims paid as quick. Maybe a few less firms would have teamed up with PSC firms. But one thing is certain, the vast majority of claimants, that followed the rules and submitted their claims as directed, would be in a much better position than they are now.

And what about the former director of the FBI getting paid millions of dollars a month to investigate this process? His focus is on whether or not someone was "uncomfortable" at a strip club, and whether a law firm checked on the status of their claim too many times, and whether a law firm was copied on an email (all of which he found to have no effect on the payment of claims) and how to keep his gravy train on the tracks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. PATRICK JUNEAU: It’s been a remarkable experience for me.

Well Pat it’s been one hell of an experience for the GULF COAST too let’s look at the current stats.


Page 3 table 4 has your recent results.

IEL Notices Issued 36,627 Offers made 4,876 Payments made 4,202

BEL Notices Issued 48,747 Offers made 12,454 Payments made 9,909
Failed Business Loss 2,745 Offers made 36 Payments made 20

Now that we’ve learned the PSC claims are getting paid and you never reinstated the (FI/FO) first in first out why not ????

Let me guess you now have the court vendors advising you on how to kill more claims by changing the math and smoothing issue BP wants. That’s right everyone else gets their claim discounted 20-30%.

Jason mark this date you heard it first and it’s posted on your site prior to the judge handing down new recommendation by Paj and Vendors.

Here’s my Jeopardy Question !!!! I’ll take new court orders for $1000 Alex

What is:

A proposed smoothing and matching procedures that continues to exacerbates what has become an audit and verification death struggle for small businesses to obtain compensation under the agreed upon parameters of the settlement fund. A struggle that most small businesses will never win. Nor can their historical records be remediated in any meaningful or cost effective manner to satisfy this new found demand.

It seems quite likely that the cost of having the Claims Administrator and settlement fund conduct this exhaustive auditing process will in fact generate more accounting fees for the funds accounting experts (COURT VENDORS) than the ultimate compensation to many claimants.

Some claimants who passed causation under the old rules will now fail causation and be excluded from compensation after being in the fund for nearly two years.


Anonymous said...

Check out PACER from today and look at what has been going on behind the scenes between Freeh, BP and BG for the last 4 months now that some of the communications have been unsealed. I hate to complain when Barbier finally does something right, but why the hell is this being allowed and why was it sealed in the first place.

Jason Brad Berry said...

^^^ both poignant comments.

Anon 1, The whole "fairness" of the fairness hearing is now called into question. If the hearing was based on faulty information it could very well be the reason for the total fuck'snu the settlement has become. The opt out issue is now complicated by the fact that the fairness hearing may have been based on false representations as you stated.

And IN-HALE, you nail exactly the point I've been making about why it is such a big deal that the PSC expedited their own claims. Thousands of claimants are now getting screwed over and having to meet new requirements that the PSC's clients didn't have to worry about at the beginning of the claims process. I'm not a lawyer but to me it's a clear breach of fiduciary duty to the class and I also have very good reason to believe there may be fraudulent claims that have been filed by at least one PSC firm as well.

How can this issue of PSC claims being expedited justifiably be ignored by Special Master Freeh? It's outrageous...the "sampling" story defies credulity.

But here's my question...who do you turn to? As a commenter stated in the previous post, the PSC and Juneau are hiding behind the robe. Where do you turn to find justice in this situation? You can't turn to the court...you can't turn to the Special Master...you certainly can't turn to BP.

I'm at a loss here. Not as big a loss as the remaining claimants but I would like to find some federal entity that would seek justice for the people getting hosed by the greed and unethical actions of the PSC attorneys.

I don't know if the MDL board is watching this or if they even care, I don't know if the U.S. DOJ is watching and if they even care....I don't know if anyone gives a damn about the people that are suffering from this oil spill and the boondoggle this settlement has become.

It sickens me but I don't know what else I can do other than keep digging up the truth. If nothing else maybe AZ can provide a historical record of what actually happened here.

Anonymous said...

I little interesting detail that Paj forgot to mention to judge during the Fairness Hearing. He was overwhelmed by the 95 % acceptance rate but after reviewing the exclusions.

2.2 Excluded Individuals or Entities:

2.2.6 Any Natural Person or entity who or that made a claim to the GCCF, was paid and executed a GCCF Release and Covenant not to Sue provided, however, that the execution of a GCCF Release and Covenant Not to Sue shall not prevent a Natural Person or Entity from making a VoO Charter Payment Claim Etc………

So technically the VoO claimants that signed GCCF RELEASES are NOT CLASS MEMBERS but a prevision by a high ranking PSC negotiated this and received the lion’s share of the payments prior to FH that was counted in the 95% acceptance rate. This was found money for them naturally they accepted the offer.

For more details see the Administrators Status reports 1, 2 &

Kevin said...

It might be helpful to have those End of Day Dashboard Reports from David Odom for the dates between March 1, 2012 to November 8,2012? Those show the activity by firms.

Who benefits in any way when random claims of Major Objectors are reviewed on an expedited basis; but not paid?

Kevin said...

The following is from an October 17,2013 email by Chris Reade of the DHECC:

"Obviously these will changes/expand as Mr. Welker gets his team on board but attached and
in Sharepoint (Workstream Doc Library) are the first versions of the Internal Fraud reports
that we're working on. Some are already in production and have borne fruit for the CAO
such as in Mr. Sutton's case, the Mobile staff and Mr. Cantor's case but even those need to be
refined further with Mr. Welker's input."

Can anybody shed some light on what "Mr. Cantor's case" is about?

Anonymous said...

>>Can anybody shed some light on what "Mr. Cantor's case" is about?<<

Google for things like "Vessels of Opportunity", "Voo offset"," Counsel for BP", and "Daniel A. Cantor". You could also read things similar to what one might find here, checking to see if the name appears.

Might also want to look here too. Just skip to "10/22/2012 7727
REPLY to Response to Motion filed by All Plaintiffs. "