(Adds quote from BP, background, separate settlement by
HOUSTON, Sept 2 BP Plc asked a U.S. court
on Tuesday to fire the court-appointed lawyer tasked with paying
out compensation to people affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico
oil spill, saying the lawyer had not disclosed an alleged
conflict of interest before taking the job.
The motion in U.S. District Court in New Orleans said the
lawyer, Patrick Juneau, lacks neutrality because he had
advocated for claimants before the court appointed him to run
the claims program.
It was the latest in a series of legal challenges filed by
the London-based oil major, which has complained previously that
Juneau has been too generous and liberal when approving claims.
"In order to restore the integrity of the claims program,
the court should replace him," BP said.
Juneau has said he is just applying the rules of the 2012
settlement agreement that was approved by U.S. District Judge
BP originally expected the class-action settlement to
resolve economic and health claims by more than 100,000
individuals and businesses to cost $7.8 billion. It has since
said the uncapped program could cost $9.2 billion and that this
amount could grow.
The 1,000-page settlement deal was negotiated by BP and a
committee of plaintiffs' lawyers to avoid individual lawsuits by
compensating a wide class of businesses and individuals in one
BP has sustained more than $42 billion in charges from the
April 20, 2010, disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling
rig that killed 11 workers in the worst offshore oil spill in
More charges are possible as the trial to determine blame
and overall damages from the spill, including those under the
federal Clean Water Act, is ongoing.
Separately on Tuesday, oilfield services provider
Halliburton Co reached a $1.1 billion settlement for
claims related to its role in the spill. Halliburton provided
cementing services on the blown-out Macondo well.
The settlement protects Halliburton from certain punitive
damages if the court were to rule later that the company had
been "negligent" or "grossly negligent" for its role in the
blowout, Chief Financial Officer Mark McCollum said.
The case can be found under: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig
"Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010,
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No.
(Reporting by Houston Newsroom; Editing by Leslie Adler)