The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 19, 2013

Judge refuses to suspend BP settlement payments

(Continued)

Separately, BP has argued that Barbier and Juneau have misinterpreted the settlement and forced the company to pay businesses for inflated and fictitious losses. The company appealed Barbier's decision to uphold Juneau's interpretation of that portion of the deal. A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case earlier this month.

The April 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo well triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers and led to millions of gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after the disaster, BP agreed to create a $20 billion compensation fund that was administered at first by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, led by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

After the settlement was announced last year, Barbier appointed Juneau to take over the process of evaluating and paying claims.

The settlement doesn't have a cap, but BP initially estimated that it would pay $7.8 billion to resolve the claims. Now the company says it no longer can give a reliable estimate for how much the deal will cost.

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