Letter: BP had agreed with settlement program

For eight months, we worked with BP, a host of accountants and other experts to develop a settlement agreement that would fairly and transparently compensate families and businesses that might have been harmed by the spill. As part of that, BP agreed to objective formulas to determine eligibility as well as compensation. BP’s attorney wrote that the process was typified by “transparent, objective, data-driven methodologies.”

As late as November 2012, BP submitted court filings in which the company confirmed that: “Once the causation tests are satisfied, all revenue and variable profit declines during the compensation period are presumed to be caused entirely by the spill, with no analysis of whether such declines were also traceable to other factors unrelated to the spill.”

Nevertheless, BP has recently embarked upon a public relations campaign against the claims administrator, the court, and the businesses and families of the Gulf Coast region who have done nothing more than submit claims that BP had agreed it would pay.

It is worth remembering that BP selected and proposed Patrick Juneau to serve as the claims administrator for the settlement program. He is a universally respected corporate defense attorney who has been appointed by courts all across the country to serve as special master or mediator in high-profile cases.

Indeed, of the literally hundreds of policy questions raised over the course of Juneau’s tenure, BP has formally agreed with or deferred to every interpretation except two.

In addition to Juneau, BP selected and proposed PricewaterhouseCoopers and Postlethwaite & Netterville for the settlement program. These independent accounting firms had implemented the settlement agreement in exactly the same way that it was interpreted by Juneau and Judge Carl Barbier.

Judge Barbier was selected by a panel of trial and appellate court judges from across the country to preside over the BP oil spill litigation, one of the largest consolidated cases in history.

He has been praised by BP and others for his ingenuity, commitment and dedication to the efficient and effective management of this vast and complex litigation.

On Dec. 12, 2012, the parties appeared before the court, and BP’s counsel again confirmed to the claims administrator, to the independent accountants who were present, to class counsel and to the court, that BP agreed with the settlement program’s objective analysis of causation.

On behalf of the businesses and families of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, we appreciate the dedication and commitment of the claims administrator, the court, the court’s staff and everyone who has contributed to this massive litigation effort and the historic settlement program.

Stephen J. Herman, co-lead counsel

In re: Deepwater Horizon, MDL 2179

New Orleans