Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund – Oil Spill Rules Don’t Create Trust in Florida & Alabama AGs
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum joined Alabama Attorney General Troy King in criticizing the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund oil spill claims rules today. McCollum issued a press release containing excerpts from a letter he sent today to Kenneth Feinberg. McCollum’s letter condemned the new rules, saying they contradict many of Feinberg’s previous public statements. McCollum wrote: “the current process appears to be even less generous to Floridians than the BP process.” McCollum added “the process appears to have as its primary goal the reduction or elimination of claims, instead of making claimants whole.”
Damning words from Florida’s chief legal officer.
Alabama AG Troy King’s letter indicates Feinberg has refused to address issues raised by all the Gulf Coast attorneys general. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, King’s letter 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.” (You can read the BP Claims Rules here).
BP Claims: Does the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund Intend to Limit Them?
It doesn’t create confidence in the new BP claims process when two conservative, business-friendly Attorneys Generals attack the rules so quickly and so vehemently. Shortly after Feinberg, a Boston attorney, was appointed administrator of the $20 BP claims fund, he embarked on a whirlwind tour of the South to try to sell the plan to Gulf Coast residents and businesses. He openly criticized BP, and promised to be much faster and more generous to claimants. Now that the Attorneys General of Florida and Alabama have accused him of being less generous than BP, many people might doubt Feinberg’s sales pitch. It is particularly troubling that McCollum believes Feinberg’s primary goal is “the reduction or elimination of claims.”
Some who attended Feinberg’s town hall meetings agreed that he could talk a good game. But after their bad experiences with BP claims administrators, some Gulf Coast residents said they wanted to see something in writing before they decided whether to trust Kenneth Feinberg. Based upon the discrepancies between his statements and the actual rules, Mr. Feinberg may learn that he hasn’t earned anyone’s trust. By the end of Friday, news coverage reflected that the rules were being greeted with skepticism (see “New guidelines could rule out many oil spill claims”).
BP Claims: You Can Simultaneously File a Claim and Pursue a Lawsuit A Lawsuit Against BP
A number of law firms are offering free evaluation of oil spill losses. Some oil spill attorneys are offering to file the paperwork with the Kenneth Feinberg BP fund, while simultaneously pushing their clients’ claims through the court system. This lets claimants avoid the delay that will occur if claimants wait to hire an attorney until they see how much Feinberg offers them for a final settlement.
People on the Gulf Coast again find themselves faced with economic uncertainty and a decision to be made: can I afford to put my trust in Kenneth Feinberg?
What do you think about the new Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund rules? Let us know by posting a comment.