NEW ORLEANS – In the wake of continued revelations of possible corruption in the settlement program form the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP has published a new advertisement in the Wall Street Journal chronicling law firms seeking payouts for themselves through the settlement program.
Over the past year BP has been engaged in a prolonged battle over an alleged misinterpretation of a settlement agreement by Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau that the company says has resulted in inflated settlement payments to some businesses and even payments for losses that cannot be proven to be connected to the oil spill. Included in those businesses seeking settlements are law firms located in Gulf Coast states that stand to greatly benefit from representing claimants of which they will receive 25 percent of any claim.
“[W]ho are some of the biggest beneficiaries of this misinterpretation?" the ad reads. "Lawyers and law firms making claims for themselves. In fact, they’ve received more in offers from the Court Supervised Settlement Program than restaurants, bars, hotels, or seafood processors."
The ad highlights three claims in particular that went to law firms.
According to the ad, one firm received $3 million despite nearly doubling its profits from 2009 to 2011, another firm handling corporate litigation received a $5 million claim and the largest payout of the three, -$8 million - went to a firm who posted a higher profit when the spill was ongoing in 2010 than it did in the previous year.
BP reiterated its continuing effort to ensure claims were going to the deserving, not just those who are eligible under the settlement.
“The settlement wasn’t intended to be a huge payday for lawyers," the ad says. "It was designed to help people and businesses that suffered real financial losses due to the spill."