Feinberg: Claims Process Is a “Skirmish”


We should probably pay attention when Kenneth Feinberg describes his claims process as a “skirmish,” as he’s done in recent press reports.

By definition, a “skirmish” is an adversarial process – a conflict – and you have to wonder who Mr. Feinberg’s adversary actually is and what the nature of the conflict is. Well, apparently, the adversaries are Gulf residents who have been laid low by the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. This is not the way things were supposed to shake out. Mr. Feinberg himself told Congress that he ANSWERS to the people of the Gulf.

The Press-Register had this: “Feinberg knows people are angry and that paying them is the only way to win back their trust. To that end, he agreed last week to expedite business claims from companies along the Alabama coast. But he also believes that his process should not ultimately be judged on its performance during the early ‘skirmish’ of the emergency claims period.”

We can agree that being generous and fair is important. But victims of a corporate crime should not be viewed as adversaries in collecting what’s coming to them. In the “skirmish,” Gulf residents should have a champion…but it appears Ken Feinberg is not that person.

Read more here: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2010/09/does_feinbergs_claims_process.html

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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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