Parsing Damages


There are still precious few details on how the $20 billion BP fund will be allotted, but we’re apparently a bit closer to finding out what might happen with “direct” vs. “indirect” damages.

Kenneth Feinberg, the fund administrator, said in a congressional hearing that paying those who didn’t suffer direct damages is one of his hardest challenges, and for a while he was using fairly extreme examples. A restaurant far from the Gulf, to paraphrase one of his favorites, that lost sales because it couldn’t get a specific Gulf seafood item might not qualify for funds. Well, sure, that seems fairly indirect.

But now he seems to be getting a bit more specific, saying that companies losing money because the tourism industry took a hit might not get reimbursed. In congressional testimony, he drew a comparison to property values dropping because of the spill, noting that doesn’t mean all property owners get compensation.

It’s a sure bet that those involved in the tourism economy, and that’s just about everyone around the Gulf to some degree, feels like one of the very, very “direct” impacts is that people stayed away in droves. But, as with many details in the BP fund, we’re still waiting for solid information … this, on day 72 of the spill.

You can access the Bloomberg story via USA Today here:

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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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