December 31, 2010
Oil Spill Lawyers: Ask judge to "rein in" GCCF administrator
Last week, oil spill lawyers representing gulf coast clients and Gulf Coast Claims Facility claimants asked the judge overseeing the BP litigation to order changes to the claims process. In the motion, the attorneys state that communications between oil spill victims and the BP defendants are currently "misleading" and should be more effectively implemented.
An Associated Press article said the lawyers believe fund administrator Ken Feinberg is a "pawn in a BP shell game designed to settle as many claims as possible." According to the article, the $20 billion fund has paid $2.55 billion to 167,555 claimants. Some 73,000 claimants have requested final payments. Money left over from the fund will be returned to BP.
In a related article, Gulf Coast fishermen allege the fund is mistreating their claims. The Times-Picayune spoke with fishermen who discussed their concerns about the GCCF not taking them, or their claims, seriously. Additionally, two fishermen recently issued a statement to the press claiming the Grinch had stolen Christmas. They used the well-know children's story as an analogy, comparing Feinberg and the GCCF to the Grinch and his attempt to steal the Christmas holiday from "Whoville."
For next month's issue of the ABA Journal, Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice commented on Mr. Feinberg's performance as the GCCF administrator and his recent final payment offer to GCCF claimants. He said, "You have a guy out of work nine months in the Gulf who thinks his claim is worth much more than they might offer, but he looks at his wife and two kids and he's doing what he can to put food on the table as Christmas approaches. He's more likely to take the settlement money. We've seen this kind of thing before from defense lawyers."