Claims administrator ordered to immediately halt oil spill claims payments to businesses

By Kyle Barnett | Oct 4, 2013

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has ordered claims administrator Patrick Juneau to immediately stop business-related loss payments connected to the 2010 BP oil spill.

Barbier, who is overseeing the case at the Eastern District of Louisiana, made the ruling today - a day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided with BP concerning the way funds were being paid out under the Court Supervised Settlement Program under the leadership of Juneau.

BP claims Juneau misinterpreted the settlement agreement and allowed businesses which could show little or no economic damages to receive payments. While business claims will be suspended for the time being, all other claims will be allowed to be processed.

“This order is issued only as an immediate and interim measure until the Court is able to confer with and receive input from the parties in order to confect an appropriate ‘narrowly tailored’ preliminary injunction order as instructed by the Fifth Circuit,” Barbier wrote.

Both BP and the plaintiffs’ steering committee have also been ordered to submit a proposal on how damages for businesses should be handled to eliminate the potential for false claims.

The ruling comes after multiple denials by Barbier to revisit the settlement program at BP’s request.

BP, the plaintiffs’ steering committee and Juneau will meet in a status conference on Friday, Oct. 11 to go over potential new proposals on how to handle business economic loss claims.

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