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BP Ruling is Latest Development Since Freeh’s Appointment as Special Master

April 30, 2014

Federal Judge Carl J. Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on Tuesday, April 29 that a $357,000 payment in a damage claim arising from the 2010 BP oil spill must be repaid because the claim was fraudulent.

In July 2013, former federal judge and former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh was appointed as a ‘special master’ to investigate alleged misconduct and monitor the claims payout program that was put in place after the BP oil spill. Judge Freeh is a partner and chair of the Executive Committee of the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP and founder and chairman of the global risk management firm Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC (FGIS). He was supported in his investigation of payments made by the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (DHECC) by a team of FGIS investigators and Pepper Hamilton attorneys that includes former prosecutors and law enforcement professionals.

As a result of his investigation, Judge Freeh filed a clawback motion against Casey Thonn, a Louisiana resident who misrepresented his income in filing a claim with the DHECC. Judge Barbier granted the motion, and Thonn is liable for the full amount awarded to him by the DHECC, and any professionals who profited from Thonn’s award, including his attorneys, are liable up to the amount of the fees or payments they received in relation to Thonn’s claims.

Tuesday's ruling was the latest result from Judge Freeh's investigation of the claims process arising from the settlement of civil litigation that followed the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon offshore rig disaster that sent millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Please visit the New Orleans Times-Picayune Web site for full coverage of Judge Barbier’s ruling.