U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier rejected BP’s second attempt to have Patrick Juneau removed as claims administrator of the Deepwater Horizon settlement. In his ruling, Judge Barbier noted that:
- A claims administrator is not subject to the same recusal rules as a federal judge under Rule 35 and, therefore, Juneau was not required to disclose possible grounds for disqualification when he was appointed.
- Even if Juneau had been subject to Rule 35, he did disclose information to BP and its lawyers about his prior work for the state of Louisiana before he was selected as claims administrator.
- Even if Juneau had been subject to Rule 35, BP waited too long to file its motion. A motion to disqualify must be made as soon as a party learns of a reason, not after an adverse decision has been made by a judge.
- Mr. Juneau did not make false or misleading statements to FBI Director Louis Freeh who was the special master appointed to investigate the payout system.
- The arguments in BP’s motions were “mostly a regurgitation of old issues or complaints that the court or the special master has previously addressed”.
- BP blatantly and intentionally disregarded the judges instructions for filing the motion.
BP continues to file appeals to discourage filings and delay payment, which means there is currently no filing deadline. The deadline will be set at six months after BP exhausts all of its court challenges. Less than 1% of all potential claimants have filed which means that plenty of business and individuals still have time to file a claim.