NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Andry Lerner issued the following statement today:
People of the Gulf South are united by a sense of fundamental fairness; they live by the creed that your word is your bond. If you make an agreement, you live with the results. Oil giant and convicted corporate criminal BP, however, does not live by the same creed. BP is waging a nasty, untruthful campaign to renege on its agreement to the people of the Gulf Coast and rewrite the settlement agreement it negotiated after causing the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
A coalition of lawyers representing victims of the BP oil spill has launched a website that tells the truth about BP and its despicable campaign of innuendo and gossip. The site, www.bpfraud.com, uses court documents and news coverage to show that BP's ridiculous claims of fraud are nothing more than a cynical attempt to once again wriggle out of its court-ordered obligations.
BPFraud.com poses a simple question to the people of the Gulf Coast: Has BP made you whole yet? If not, why? BPFraud.com asks people to share their stories to counter the lies told by BP's massive legal, public relations and political lobbying campaign. Likewise, we're asking BP workers with a conscience to follow their own company's advice and report anonymously any and all behavior that demonstrates BP's deceit. We will investigate those claims and hold BP accountable for its reprehensible behavior.
Andry Lerner has willingly cooperated in the ongoing investigation by Judge Louis Freeh who was appointed by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to investigate the Gulf Coast settlement process. Andry Lerner is confident that Judge Louis Freeh will find no wrongdoing by the law firm and will conclude that the overall claims process is administered professionally and conscientiously. In the meantime, we want the world to know the facts:
- BP is a massive multinational company found guilty of criminal conduct that killed 11 people and financially devastated many thousands more. While BP reaps profits of about $20 million every day, it is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour to lawyers and consultants in an attempt to break its agreements and short-change people of the Gulf Coast who are struggling to pay mortgages and keep small businesses open.
- BP spent two years negotiating a settlement agreement that eliminates what would have been years and years of civil litigation. BP underestimated the cost of the settlement damages, and now is attempting to rewrite the deal. BP negotiated and approved the very process it now calls corrupt. Indeed, it actually requested and approved Mr. Pat Juneau as the Claims Administrator.
- BP is paying its lawyers. BP is paying its lobbyists. BP is paying its spin-doctors. The only people BP doesn't want to pay are the people whose lives it up-ended with its criminal behavior.
- BP is enlisting the media to offensively portray the people of the Gulf Coast as opportunists filing fictitious claims. The reality is that, under the settlement agreement reached by BP, claims either meet the proper criteria or they don't. BP cannot now dispute claims that are considered legitimate under its own settlement agreement.
- BP employs scores of lawyers trying to wriggle out of its obligations, but casts aspersions on the attorneys helping small businesses such as shrimpers and hotel owners receive their rightful monetary awards.
- BP claims there are large numbers of fictitious claims, yet it has not documented a single one. Fortunately, Judge Barbier has seen through BP's smokescreen and has ordered that claims continue to be paid. If, in fact, there are fictitious claims, we expect that they will be denied.
- The unproven specter of fictitious claims, though, is no reason to abolish a program that has helped people put their lives back together. Even a small number of fraudulent claims - inexcusable as they are - does not justify BP's contemptuous response. If BP's argument were applied to itself, the company's own criminal behavior in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe alone justifies shutting the British oil giant down.
We are committed to opposing BP's stubborn and ongoing efforts to block payments to its victims. We will fight BP in the court of law and we will fight BP in the court of public opinion. We will fight with facts, starting with an expose of BP's abuse of the legal system with baseless accusations and frivolous filings that serve only to clog the very courts that are holding BP accountable.
SOURCEAndry Lerner law firm