A federal judge rejected a request by BP to remove the court appointed administrator of damage settlements for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill Monday.
The company’s lawyers argued that Patrick Juneau should be relieved of his post, citing conflicts of interest and misleading statements.
Before serving in his current role Juneau was a consultant for Louisiana during talks with BP that helped establish the Deepwater Horizon claims process.
BP said Juneau sided with claim makers when negotiating settlement terms and made misleading statements about his role in the talks before becoming administrator, the Associated Press said.
The company also alleged that Juneau improperly fast tracked claims for some clients represented by the plaintiffs’ steering committee.
However, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said BP knew about Juneau’s consulting work and that the administrator properly disclosed his role in the talks before being chosen for his position.
Barbier also said the company used a statement out of context to support its allegation that Juneau had given false or misleading statements.
Additionally, Barbier said there was no evidence to suggest special treatment was given to clients of the plaintiff steering committee.
In his decision Barbier said the expedited claims were made during a 2012 effort to “process a substantial number of high value claims” to show the program was working.
“Although some of these claims were for clients of PSC members, according to Mr. Juneau over 60 percent of the claims were for clients of non-PSC attorneys, including some objectors to the settlement,” Barbier said.
The judge also ruled that the motion to oust Juneau was filed too late.
“A party cannot wait until after an adverse decision has been made by the judge before raising the issue of recusal,” Barbier said.
In September, BP was found guilty of willful misconduct and gross negligence for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and caused one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history.