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Ken Feinberg Issues Rules for BP Claims – State AGs Cry Foul

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Oil Spill Claims Process Going From Bad to Worse?

BP claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg issued new rules for BP oil spill claims today. The rules will govern payments from the $20 billion escrow fund. The fund will begin accepting applications on August 23, 2010. Within hours of the release of the new rules, the attorneys general of both Florida and Alabama had written Feinberg to condemn the new BP claims procedures.

McCollum wrote: “the current process appears to be even less generous to Floridians than the BP process.” He later added “the process appears to have as its primary goal the reduction or elimination of claims, instead of making claimants whole.”

King’s letter to Feinberg says: “Based on the lack of any forward progress made in your latest draft, as well as your actions and public statements since we met, it appears that the concerns of the Attorneys General and those of the citizens of our States have fallen on deaf ears.”

(Click here to read more from McCollum and King’s letters to Feinberg)

One problem with the new rules is that they place heavy emphasis on proximity to the oil spill. Businesses which aren’t located on the beach, or very near to it, may be unable to collect anything from the fund even if they lost significant amounts due to the oil spill. McCollum wrote that Feinberg is imposing stricter limits than the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) imposes.

Some law firms are offering to file Feinberg’s paperwork for Gulf Coast residents and businesses, while simultaneously pressing ahead with oil spill lawsuits At least one leading plaintiffs’ firm is offering to waive its attorneys’ fee on the first payment clients receive from the fund (the “emergency’ payment for 6 months of losses).

Feinberg has stated that, after clients exhaust the 6-months emergency payment, he will make them a lump-sum offer. In exchange, the claimants will be required to release BP, Transocean and Halliburton. Given the fact that the future impact of the oil spill on the Gulf is still unknown, some have complained that it is unfair to ask them to fully release all defendants when it’s too early to accurately calculate their long-term damages.

I posted the following articles about Ken Feinberg’s new rules at BP Oil News today:

For more oil spill claims articles, visit the BP Oil News Oil Spill Claims page. For general news of the BP oil spill, visit BP Oil News.

About Michael J. Evans

Michael J. Evans is a personal injury lawyer who represents people with claims involving defective medicine or medical devices, other defective products that cause serious injury or death, and environmental cases. Evans also handles whistleblower lawsuits in which employees, or former employees, expose fraud or other illegal conduct by the corporation for which they work(ed), Evans organizes litigation groups of plaintiffs law firms to work with him on these cases nationwide. Evans uses social media, blogs, online video, mobile apps and traditional media to connect with clients, and help other prominent law firms connect with clients.. Evans is also an advocate for the rights of consumers. His primary areas of legal practice are mass torts, and advising law firms on the ethical rules and law governing legal marketing via the Internet and social media.

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