Judge to weigh suspending BP settlement payments
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge is set to hear BP's bid to temporarily block all settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who claim they lost money after the company's 2010 oil spill.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier scheduled a hearing Friday to consider whether payments should be suspended while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigates alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped administer the settlement program.
BP says there is a risk that hundreds of millions of dollars in claims payments could be "tainted by fraud, corruption and malfeasance" unless the judge acts.
A team of plaintiffs' attorneys that brokered the multi-billion dollar settlement with BP say the company hasn't provided any evidence that court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau has improperly paid any claims or wrongfully implemented any policies.