Oil Spill Claims – Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund Issues Rules
New BP oil spill trust fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg has been flying around the Gulf states meeting with people and businesses who have lost money due to the oil spill. People at these meetings have expressed anger at the way they have been treated by BP, and Ken Feinberg has tried to distance himself from BP. While Feinberg has said Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund will be fairer and faster than BP’s claims process, Feinberg has not provided much specific information about the new rules that will apply. News reports say some people who attended meetings with Feinberg have asked for copies of the rules that will govern the new process, but the rules have not been available until today. In a press release, Feinberg released his Gulf Coast Claims Facility Protocol for Emergency Advance Payments. Feinberg said “These guidelines are the result of many town hall meetings throughout the Gulf, listening to the people affected by this disaster.”
Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund – Some Oil Spill Attorneys Are Waiving Fee on First Payment
Some oil spill attorneys are offering to file oil spill payment applications with the Ken Feinberg BP Fund, and they are waiving attorneys’ fees on Feinberg’s first payment (the payment for 6 months of losses). This means that people can get a lawyer to file the paperwork with the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund, and at the same time they can pursue a case against BP using the court system. Pursuing BP simultaneously through Feinberg’s processing facility and the court system may be the quickest way to obtain full and fair compensation. I’ll update this post soon to provide a way to contact attorneys offering this service.
One advantage that the court system has over the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund is that the court system may allow people and businesses to recover punitive damages. Feinberg has said he will not pay punitive damages from the $20 billion escrow fund. Another reason that letting a lawyer handle your case in the court system is that you can simultaneously try to recover money from BP, Transocean, and Halliburton. People who sue multiple negligent defendants are often able to collect more than they would if they had only sued one defendant. People who accept a final payment from Feinberg’s fund will not be allowed to collect money from Transocean or Halliburton, according to The Wall Street Journal.
People who live or own businesses which are not on (or very near) the beach may not be paid by Feinberg. The New York Times reported that “An ice cream parlor or a golf course miles from the affected shore but along the main highway headed to the beach will probably not be eligible, the documents indicate.”
Alabama Attorney General Criticizes Kenneth Feinberg Oil Spill Claims Rules
Alabama Attorney General Troy King sent a letter today to Kenneth Feinberg criticizing the new rules. King says the rules appear to be part of BP’s strategy to limit payments to those damaged by the BP oil spill. According to a Birmingham Business Journal article, King wrote Feinberg, “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.”
Some business publications have added their own criticisms to those of AG King. Portfolio.com says, “With that kind of uncertainty hanging over the Gulf, Feinberg and his colleagues may have a tough sell getting businesses to take what they can now, rather than waiting to see what the real damage is—and what the courts decide it is.”
After this article was originally posted, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum weighed in on the new rules issued by the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund. You can read what the Florida Attorney General had to say about Feinberg’s oil spill claims rules here.
Read the Full Text of Feinberg’s Rules
We’ve got a link here to the full text of the BP Oil Spill Payment Rules. Also, if you’re interested, we’ve uploaded the forty-page trust agreement that governs Feinberg’s escrow account. You can view the oil spill claims trust by clicking on this link: BP Oil Spill Claims Trust Agreement.
What’s Your Opinion of the Kenneth Feinberg BP Fund Oil Spill Claims Rules?
Please share your opinion about the new rules in a comment. Do you think the new rules are fairer than the rules BP followed? Do you have confidence in Kenneth Feinberg? Are you going to seek to recover your losses through the court system at the same time that you file with Feinberg’s office?