Fight Intensifies Over BP Claims Process

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Kenneth Feinberg has responded to criticism of his handling of the claims process for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which BP pays him $1.5 million a month to oversee. Plaintiffs’ counsel claimed that Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility does not comply with the Oil Pollution Act’s claims process, and creates “a moving target that no claimant stands a fair chance of hitting.”
Plaintiff attorneys in July asked the federal judge overseeing the oil spill litigation to appoint a special master to monitor the claims process. They claims that Feinberg’s GCCF “violated of the spirit of the Court’s Order seeking to protect plaintiffs and putative class members from confusion and misunderstanding; and that the releases obtained from plaintiffs and other putative class members are invalid and should not be enforced.”
The consolidated litigation is overseen by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.
In his reply, filed Monday, Feinberg says it would not be legal for Barbier to appoint a special master to oversee the claims process. He claims the claims process is working in a fair and simple way.

In July, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood sued Feinberg to try to get access to GCCF claims filed by coastal residents. Hood said that if Feinberg would “open the books for Mississippi claims, we will find they have not treated our claims fairly,” according to a July 12 report from ABC News.
Feinberg’s document does not address his attorney general’s lawsuit.

Courthouse News Service
8/16/11