Spill Victims Continue to Criticize Claims Process: “We thought BP was bad, this is worse than BP ever thought about being”


Reports continue to pour in about claims that get paid – but for only pennies on the dollar. The increasingly tense situation on the ground is leaving Gulf area business owners scratching their heads and beating their chests wondering why they’re not being made whole. In a Fox 10 TV report out of Gulf Shores, Alabama, people are finally concluding what seemed unthinkable only a short time ago – this process could be worse than when BP ran its own claims facility.

“He’s got us by the throat and it doesn’t appear there’s a thing we can do about it,” David Bodenhamer told Fox 10. He’s a partner with Young’s Suncoast Realty, a property rental company, and he adds: “… this whole thing is just absolutely a nightmare,” Bodenhamer said. “We thought BP was bad, this is worse than BP ever thought about being.”

He states the problem we hear again and again when it comes to claims: “We can’t get anybody to talk to us. We can’t find out why they sent us x instead of the full amount. There is no process, there is no contact for you to go to.”

One challenge is that the claims statistics can seem so compelling. We don’t recite them here, because they’re actually meaningless. Knowing how many claims are “paid” and a total amount of reimbursement seems significant – but until you know how many claims are fully paid, and how many are just pennies on the dollar, and why those decisions were made, it means little.

There’s a growing chorus calling on the Obama Administration to take action. This Gulf Shores report is one of many documenting the growing frustration. And now, into this chaos, comes the first difficult deadline – Nov. 23 – for starting on “final” settlements. For those of us who feel the Gulf is near some kind of breaking point, that’s an unsettling mix.

Here’s the Fox report: http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/gulf_oil_spill/millions-in-gulf-oil-claims-barely-paid

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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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