BP Oil asks Federal Courts to block settlement payments, again
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP has renewed its request for a federal judge to temporarily suspend settlement payments to Gulf Coast residents and businesses following a scathing report on alleged misconduct within the court-supervised program. In a court filing Monday, BP attorneys said the report issued earlier this month by former FBI Director Louis Freeh shows the settlement program is plagued by problems that need to be fixed. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier already has rejected two previous requests by BP to suspend settlement payments, but both rulings preceded Freeh's Sept. 6 report. Freeh concluded that top members of claims administrator Patrick Juneau's staff engaged in conduct that was improper, unethical and possibly criminal, but said he didn't see a need to shut down settlement payments.