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BP Settlement is tip of iceberg | Gulf oil spill cover-ups widespread

BP Settlement is intended to bolster BP’s public relations, but the BP oil spill is not an isolated case, says whistleblower

4-30-2013

BP Settlement BP Claims logo

British Petroleum dumps oil on America’s Gulf Coast.

Kudos to reporter David Hammer of WWL TV in New Orleans. Hammer has just published an article exposing widespread cover-ups of Gulf oil spills. Hammer’s article begins:

It was something of an eye-opener when an oil company pleaded guilty to two environmental crimes in January.  Not because the pollution reported was anything on the scale of the BP spill, but because of the brazen cover-up involved.”

The company, Houston-based W&T Offshore, admitted its workers had used coffee filters in October 2009 to clean oil and other minerals out of the water byproduct discharged overboard from their platform in the Ewing Banks 910 lease block, about 65 miles south of Port Fourchon.

They were filtering the oil out of the water samples that were sent into a lab and recorded with the federal government.

Meanwhile, the water they were dumping back into the Gulf on a constant basis stayed contaminated.

W&T also pleaded guilty to spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico in November 2009 and not reporting it to authorities, as required by law. The company agreed to pay $1 million in fines and community service for their crimes.

I (attorney Michael J. Evans, publisher of this blog) set up a blog entitled BPOilNews.com the week after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010. During the course of the spill, particularly during the early days, I hired a journalist and dispatched a videographer to take video to document the damage caused by BP. I’m not the only one to document BP’s coverup, Mother Jones and Pro Publica were both very aggressive in covering the story of the BP oil spill and the BP cover-up.

BPOilNews.com sent a videographer to document the damage, but sheriff’s deputies acting at the direction of BP employees blocked his access. And it wasn’t just our blog, BPOilnNews.com, that documented the cover-up. Others reported the cover-up, ad BPOilNews.com reported on the cover-up (see Oil spill pictures suggest a cover-up on Grande Isle – sand being used to cover up the oil, published July 2, 2010 on BPOilNews.com. Our reporting about BP and the government’s violations of the public’s First Amendment rights was mentioned in a law review article by the Environmental Law Institute.

Alabama businesses deserve every penny they can collect from the BP Settlement

So if any of you think BP deserves a break when it comes to Alabama businesses filing claims in the BP settlement, please think again. BP has lied from May 2010 until the last time a BP official opened his mouth. BP does not deserve your pity; it should be held fully accountable for ALL economic damage it may have caused ANYWHERE in the State of Alabama.

BP’s most recent court filings have been multiple, repetitive motions asking the settlement judge to order the Settlement Administrator to quit paying “absurd claims” such as a $9.7 million dollar claim by a North Alabama paving contractor. BP has even filed a separate lawsuit against the BP Settlement Admiistrator, and has asked the appellate court to halt the payments and accelerate the appeal.

[Read more…]

BP Settlement News Website Launched

Can Big Oil Avoid Its Responsibility to Make the People and Businesses of the Gulf Coast States Whole After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill? We hope not.

The BP settlement continues to generate controversy as BP tries every trick in the law books to avoid paying BP claims that it owes under the Deepwater Horizon settlement agreement.

I’m working with two experienced class action litigation firms to offer representation to those needing professional help filing BP claims. As part of our effort to make sure every class member with a valid BP claim actually finds out about it, we’ve launched BP Settlement News.

We already had one website at BP Settlement Help, but it wasn’t designed for frequent updates with news about the settlement. Both BP Settlement News and BP Settlement Help provide forms that allow people to obtain free legal evaluations of their potential BP claims.

I believe those who visit BP Settlement News tomorrow will find the articles interesting.

BP settlement developments | BP continues to fight BP claims

BP Settlement Court Filings Seek to Evade Obligations BP Assumed in BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Settlement

BP continues to air television commercials bragging on their commitment to the Gulf coast, while at the same time, trying to renege on the promisees it agreed to in writing just this past fall.

BP signed a settlement agreement which included all businesses in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and much of Florida, no matter how far those businesses were located from the Gulf Coast. BP was so anxious to avoid a just trial that it said businesses could collect even if they weren’t involved in tourism or the seafood industry. The businesses didn’t even have to prove that they lost money due to the BP oil spill.

BP recognizes that its oil spill devastated the economies of the Gulf Coast states, and injured businesses that could never prove their losses were caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Last fall, BP was willing to sign a class action settlement agreement which said it would pay BP claims to businesses all over the state based on simple revenue formulas.

Basically, if you lost revenues during the oil spill in 2010, and regained your revenues in 2010, you might be covered by the BP settlement. (There are a few technicalities I’m not covering in this short post, but the test allowed many North Alabama businesses to qualify for BP claims from the BP settlement without having to prove the oil spill caused their losses).

But now that BP has avoided a jury trial of the class action, it is filing repeated court motions and lawsuits trying to avoid its responsibility for paying BP claims. I’ve written a more detailed post at BPOilNews.com saying BP is reprehensible.

If you operate a business in Alabama, I recommend you read the opinion article about the BP Settlement.

10 Internet marketing tips for new lawyers and small firms

The Wisconsin Bar recently published an interesting article with 10 Internet marketing tips for new, small law firms.  While the article is sometimes short on specifics about implementing its suggestions, it is a very good beginning point for lawyers without experience in online legal marketing.  I’m just going to list the 10 headings here without the full text of the article; you can read the full article here.  I’m going to add some explanations/suggestions based on my own experience.

  1. Advertise Online.
  2. Invest in a professionally designed and developed web site.
  3. “Consumerize” your web site.
  4. Incorporate video on your site.  [The articles suggests that you “Develop an introductory video of the managing partner that showcases personality as well as expertise. Post the video on the web (and YouTube) and even consider a TV spot down the road.”  My caveat, if the managing partner doesn’t come across well on video, do not use the managing partner.  Use the lawyer who looks best and comes across as most genuine on video.  If you have to, and your bar regs permit it, hire a professional before you put up a video with a white-faced, stuttering managing partner.  Also, if you can afford it, spend the money to shoot a professional video.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to hire a pro, and the results will be worth the money.   For ideas about using video that aren’t limited to interviews with your managing partner, see my post “Use online video to do things you can’t do on TV.”]
  5. [Read more…]

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