Another Rosy Assessment: Claims Czar Says “Not Much Long-Term Adverse Impact” from Spill


It may look like a simple burst of outlandish optimism, but recent, widely distributed comments from claims chief Kenneth Feinberg about the long-term impacts of the BP spill should also be seen as hard-nosed strategic positioning.

Mr. Feinberg’s comments to the USA TODAY editorial board are showing up in lots of stories, especially his comment that: “We’re asking everybody right now, scientists, biologists, give us your best estimate of the status of the Gulf…we’re hearing right now, not much long-term adverse impact.”

That’s, of course, hotly disputed by a growing number of scientists and biologists, many of whom are politely and responsibly disagreeing with these kinds of rosy assessments by saying it’s just too early to determine long-term impacts. That debate is clearly ongoing, but the important thing to recognize is that Mr. Feinberg is signaling his own position on future claims, and it isn’t encouraging. This is one of the reasons why victims should look to hire attorneys and law firms that have assembled their own scientific experts. Many claims and suits will hinge on hard scientific research.

Mr. Feinberg’s rosy commentary only comes through as static to most people – but to spill victims trying to decide if they should take the “final payment” and agree not to sue BP and its partners, it’s a fairly clear signal. If you want to wait, or you want to file for a claim every three months, understand that the compensation czar has already decided there’s little long-term “adverse impact.”

Here’s an interesting news report from USA TODAY on Mr. Feinberg’s comment, via the Houma Today newspaper:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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