Given the flurry of objections, appeals, threats, and stall tactics by BP, Administrator Pat Juneau has had his hands full trying to keep the Economic Settlement Program on track. As a result, Program payments of any meaning to businesses eligible in the settlement have slowed considerably in the wake of BP’s antics. Also, the Program has been grappling with Policy 495, otherwise known as the “matching” policy, which added 80 plus pages of “matching” criteria to business claims. The policy seeks to match a business’s revenues with its corresponding expenses, but implementation of the policy with the Program’s accountants has been a major challenge.
It is understandable that many may be frustrated with the Program’s ability to process claims. Our lawyers and clients are dealing with those same frustrations. We must all remember, however, that BP has worked every angle to destroy this program, and Mr. Juneau professionally. BP has said and done, and will say and do, anything to keep from having to pay claims under the very rules it created. Thankfully, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) is working day and night to keep BP from eroding the settlement, while simultaneously working with the program to help improve its efficiency processing claims.
The Program will continue to improve as its accountants become more comfortable working with Policy 495. Based on program statistics after the lifting of the injunction, improvement appears to already be occurring as the Program has steadily been increasing payments to claimants. If you have any questions about the claims process, please contact Beasley Allen Toxic Torts Section Head Rhon Jones by phone at 800.898.2034, or by email at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.