Pushing the Fund


Details of the $20 billion BP oil spill fund continue to trickle out, and of course many in the Gulf are paying particular attention to any comments from fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg. So his comments in the The Financial Times bear repeating.

The administrator has been fairly consistent in saying that getting “emergency funds” would not require anyone to give up their rights in court. But I would guess that “long-term” payments will be tied in some way to such an agreement. It’s going to be a tough call for lots of families.

As with other statements, the administrator put it this way: “Would your claim be applicable under state and, in this case, maritime law? If the state would recognise it, then I will recognise it. If not, I should not,” he told the paper.

Then the FT reported: “Feinberg said that at some stage he would offer claimants a lump sum for all future loss in exchange for an agreement that they would no longer sue BP over the spill. ‘If they don’t like it, they can reject the lump sum,’ and go to court, he said. ‘If you think there are going to be birth defects or cancer in the future, then don’t take the cheque, don’t sign the waiver.'”

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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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