BP settlement pays out $18 million in claims

Patrick Juneau

Patrick Juneau

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 06:03 PM.

The man who oversees the Deepwater Horizon claims process paid a visit last week to Apalachicola, as he rallied the local staff as part of his tour of 19 claimant assistance centers from South Florida to Texas.

“We have a lot of work left to do. It’s a job and we’re going to fulfill the job,” said Patrick Juneau, who was appointed in March 2012 by federal Judge Carl Barbier as claims administrator for the BP oil spill settlement process, which the court oversees.

“We’ve got a ways to go. But the mission’s never changed,” he said.

Juneau, a Lafayette, La., attorney who has served as court-appointed special master in several high-profile class action suits, including Vioxx, Toyota and Avandia, stopped by Sept. 24 to the claims office at the municipal complex at 194 14th Street, site of the former Apalachicola High School.

Juneau serves under the auspices of the Deepwater Horizon economic and property damage settlement, an $8 billion deal between BP and attorneys representing more than 100,000 individuals and businesses with claims against the company over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Once the settlement was approved, the federal court in New Orleans relieved BP administrator Kenneth Feinberg of his duties as administrator of BP’s $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the spill. Feinberg had led the Gulf Coast Claims Facilities (GCCF), which processed about 221,300 claims, paying out $6 billion, before it was dissolved in June 2012.

The settlement that Juneau oversees is separate from the portion of the case that Barbier is now weighing, which is the amount of Clean Water Act fines that BP will be subject to. This could range from $1,100 for every barrel spilled through simple negligence to as much as $4,300 a barrel if the company is determined to have been grossly negligent.

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