[StBernard] Judge orders new 'matching' policy for some BP oil spill claims

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed May 7 09:38:25 EDT 2014

Judge orders new 'matching' policy for some BP oil spill claims


Posted on May 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM

David Hammer / Eyewitness News

Email: dhammer at wwltv.com | Twitter: @davidhammerWWL

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has approved a new method of calculating BP
oil spill payments for certain types of businesses.

The change affects thousands of so-called variable profit businesses -
mostly law firms, accountants, construction companies and farms that spend
their money on an item or project but derive revenues from it at a wholly
different time of year.

The new calculation method means that related revenues and expenses will be
matched, instead of just comparing the business' revenues and expenses in a
three-month period before the spill with the same three-month span after the

"The purpose of the thing was to try to match corresponding expenses with
revenues," said Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator who initially paid
claims based on the same three months, but was forced to change the policy
when BP appealed. "And to do that it may go beyond a three month period of
time or a four month period of time, and it's a real complex task to do

Juneau's new matching policy is 80 pages long, and he says implementing it
will involve complicated changes to software.

Some plaintiffs' lawyers complained that Juneau went too far in changing the
policy after BP won its appeal. They were hoping that Judge Carl Barbier
would reject Juneau's new process, but the judge approved it as-is Monday

"There may be those who agree or disagree with it, and I respect their right
to do that," Juneau said. "But I'm just telling you, it was strictly
generated to conform with whatever the court's directive was."

Even after the changes are implemented Juneau may not be able to resume
payments to variable-profit businesses because all business claims are on
hold while BP pursues a separate appeal at the 5th Circuit - this one
involving whether business claimants must prove that their losses actually
stemmed from the spill.

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