Archive for the ‘Ken Feinberg’ Category
Did you hear the one about the tremendous success of the GCCF? About how much money it paid out? About all the good it did? About how it barely made a mistake, didn’t low-ball claims, didn’t deny any legitimate claims and was certainly more generous than any court?
Well, I’m sure Ken Feinberg would love to tell you about it, and he soon will…
“I’m going to step back and return to teaching, write a book about BP and compensation and watch with great interest what transpires going forward in New Orleans…this has been a rollercoaster — a very challenging, very successful program…”
Right…a successful program, says you.
George Barisich, president of the United Commercial Fishermen however, had a different take on the experience, “The GCCF sucked…”
Yeah, that’s the short answer.
The long answer is Feinberg didn’t live up to his promises, led a faulty program that upset thousands, paid out easy, quick payments quickly, took forever with longer more complex claims and when it came to interim claims that didn’t require the claimant to waive his or her right or their families right to sue British Petroleum, the process slowed to a crawl and when he did make offers on interim claims, very often he included a final claims offer too, which only added to the pressure for cash strapped claimants to take the larger sum and go away.
Bluntly put: like BP, who appear to believe that by merely claiming (repeatedly) how hard they’ve worked to make things right in the Gulf, that this will somehow make their assertion true, Feinberg seems to think that the GCCF will be seen as a success, simply because he says it has, repeatedly. Well, fine…Ken can speak to success all he likes, but it doesn’t change the opinion of far too many along the Gulf Coast, that when it came to the GCCF, It was not their interests Ken had in mind…nope, no way.
Feinberg, like BP was just one more out of touch entity working the PR for a profit margin, British Petroleum’s eventual profit margin…claimants be damned.
Case in point – from Boothville, just north of Venice:
“Brooke Andry is still waiting for a deal, as her business sags, “When the fishing industry bottoms out, the lodging business is gone,” said Andry, who owns the Kingfish Lodges and Venice Palms Lodge. Andry said she filed claims with Feinberg, but has seen no action. “I think Feinberg and his group did a lot of talking and not a lot of action,” Andry said. When she met with Feinberg’s representatives, she was required to bring extensive documentation of her losses, but Feinberg’s team was never prepared. “They’d just put us off and say ‘We’ll see you in another 30 days,’” she said.”
And Brooke Andry is not alone, not by a long shot.
No, this program has not been a success.
Good Lord, for another example of Feinberg’s departure from Gulf reality, just look no further than his handling of health claims:
Originally, Feinberg denied anyone had made health claims, then it turned out 200 claims had been made but the GCCF denied every one of them. In the compensation funds Feinberg ran in regard to Agent Orange or 9-11, when it came to health claims all one had to do was show symptoms and proximity, but when it came to the GCCF, suddenly Ken wanted proof of causality to even consider the claim. So you combine this rigid causality factor with 200 reported denials of claimants who tried, and I wonder how many people, sick people, didn’t even bother to file. Yet now, with the settlement, BP…the company Feinberg was going to be more willing, more flexible and more generous than, British Petroleum has included a component to pay health claims and yes, causality is still being required, the parameters of which have not yet been revealed, but at the same time there is now a process, a willingness and at least the promise of an openness in helping address the health of the Gulf Coast, especially for first responders and cleanup workers.
This uncapped portion of the health settlement includes compensation for specified physical complaints, medical consultations for the next twenty-one years, the address of later manifested conditions and also funding for a Gulf Coast Region Health Outreach Program.
This all, coming from British Petroleum…not the overly generous, overly successful, overly trumpeting Ken Feinberg.
No, Ken just denied the claims…
Take the example of the Maurer household, also in Boothville:
Nicole Maurer said she’d developed cysts on her body since the leak, while her fisherman husband has suffered bleeding from his ear and nose since he did cleanup work. They also believe their daughter’s asthma has gotten worse, “I’m so tired of being sick,” she said.
The health problems are still being studied…and the span of time BP is willing to take into consideration is encouraging because the studies being done, for example, by the National Institute of Health, are all in their early stages…yet Feinberg and his “successful” program merely seemed to ask: what health problems?
Yeah…not that BP is the final coming of the white knight in all this…
I mean, I can’t be the only person who wonders if Feinberg’s role in the GCCF was essentially to get as many claimants out of the way, and as cheaply as possible, thus paving the way for BP to then settle with those plaintiffs who told Ken to “piss off,” all still without having to go outside of the $20 billion dollar escrow fund.
Wink, wink…nudge, nudge…
Maybe Feinberg can write about that in his book…it would certainly be more interesting than what will probably be a masturbatory tome of self congratulation.
Better yet, Feinberg can perhaps do some reflection, and write the book he needs to write:
A two to three hundred page apology.
Have a nice day.
Here comes the Bob:
“From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we’ve worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s CEO, in a statement issued Friday night. “The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast.”
And collectively, four states threw up their hands in cheers.
Thank you’s, in unison, were heard echoing throughout Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida…and if one were to sit down by the Mississippi river, become very still, very quiet…right at dusk, that pristine moment where all is a finer shade of grey, not quite daytime and not yet the night, one could focus, listening, and maybe even hear a single brown pelican gliding above the silent, always flowing river as it opens its beak and calls: “Fuck you! Fuck you!”
And that would be right about the time I stood up from those steps heading down to said river, off the Moonwalk near Jackson Square, where I take another strong sip from the strong vodka-tonic I got walking from Flanagan’s Pub and say out loud, to nobody in particlar, “Jesus Christ, I don’t care how many times you BP guys in all your varying titles go on and on about how you are meeting your responsibilities to the Gulf…just cause you say it, and say it all the fucking time, this don’t make it true…”
So, did you hear the one about the fair and equitable settlement yet?
I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, I’m sure Bob Dudley and any number of “Official BP Spokesperson”(s) would love to tell you all about it. They’d love you to believe quotes like Bob’s above too…but really, what they would love more than anything else is for you all, you know, to go away and let them get back to their business of record profits and record safety violations…after all, taking risks to make profit is what British petroleum does best…so…settled…settlement…everybody’s wealthy now…everybody’s happy…right right?
$7.8 billion dollars to individual claimants in the lawsuit…settled, we’re all good…right right?
Buy our stock and give us more drilling rights…yes?
Um…not so fast, Bob.
Sure, $7.8 billion dollars seems like a lot of money and all, like one big mea culpa, except that this money is coming from that $20 billion dollar escrow fund you already pledged over a year and a half ago, and as mentioned in this good Propublica article there be a number of problems with this, or at least some questions that need answering, such as:
The lawsuits were filed in Carl Barbier’s court mostly by people who felt they weren’t getting enough money from Feinberg’s GCCF, and now that the settlement will be paid from this same fund, which has only a little more than half left in it, how much are the plaintiffs going to receive, and what happens if that fund runs dry, $7.8 billion dollar estimate or not?
And for that mater, what happens to the people who were still working on claims with Feinberg?
And, tell me again, Bob, how is it fucking fair that people who sued because they were dissatisfied with this fund now wind up back in it, only this time with lawyers getting a percentage…and as for the new overseers of the disbursements, the one’s who are promising a new level of generosity…hmm, where did we hear that before?
Oh that’s right, Feinberg once said that when he took over the disbursements from BP, right before he pissed off everybody with all his “generous” offers.
Oh, and those lawyers from the PSC…
How influenced were they to settle with Bob and BP because of the big fat fees they were looking at? Really Bob? The PSC never took that into consideration their fees at all? You sure? The PSC was only serving the interests of their clients you say…uh-huh and the other attorney, Ken Feinberg was only being neutral…right? But hey, I’m sure these are all details…just more shit for lawyers to work out amongst themselves, locked in a room while the plaintiffs stand around outside wondering from which way they’re going to get screwed this time.
Yes screwed, because of this settlement… for example, the plaintiffs just lost their chance at punitive damages.
As Greg Palast writes in Truthout:
“I was stunned that there is no provision, as expected, for a punishment fee to by paid by BP for it’s willful negligence. In the Exxon Valdez trial, a jury awarded us $5 billion in punitives – and BP’s action, and the damage caused in the Gulf, is far, far worse. BP now has to pay no more than proven damages. It’s like telling a bank robber, “Hey, just put back the money in the vault and all’s forgiven.”
And what else did BP do, or didn’t do that very well could have entitled plaintiffs to punitive damages?
BP didn’t have emergency oil spill containment equipment at the ready as they so promised, in writing and under oath. And as a condition of drilling the Macondo Well, they were to have any oil from a blowout contained within five hours, but it took them five days just to get equipment in place. BP also mixed nitrogen into the cement which capped the well, something already proven to fail and yes, this saved them money, but it also contributed to the deaths of eleven men and this entire catastraphuk…
But hey! No punitive damages, because the Plaintiff Steering Committee settled with British Petroleum…and just like BP, the PSC only had the Gulf Coast’s interests in mind.
And now that we’re all settled, we should just go away now…go watch American Glee X Factor, starring the Voice…right right?
Hmm, but you know what else is details…
Tar balls are still coming into shore. Dolphins are still dying. Experts say we won’t know the extent of the damages for years to come.
And, as a result of this settlement, British Petroleum stocks rose three percent and it’s predicted to quickly rise another five percent more and with all this new profit, I just gotta ask, how much more money did that just make Tony Hayward? Or you, Bob…how much more money did that just make for you?
Was it more than some of the plaintiffs got?
Was it as much as the attorney fees the members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee are going to see as a result of this settlement?
Well…as you said Bob, from the beginning, BP has done all they can to step on up and meet your obligations. Yeah, but your obligations to who?
Answer me that…
Bob, you can go ahead and repeat your mantra about all the good you’ve done in the Gulf, ever since you did all that bad…go ahead, repeat it until there’s no one left to listen…fine. Knock yourself out. I’ll still be down by the river listening for the pelicans, listening to what they have to say and nodding my head in agreement: Fuck you.
Have a nice day.
Did you hear?
Tony Hayward, he of the BP oil spill Haywards, is set to get a bonus of 125,000 shares of BP stock at a current share price of $46 plus that would hold a rough value of $5,831,000 dollars.
BP is planning to give him this bonus because of improved earnings per barrel in refining and marketing during the years of 2009-2011…and it would seem 2010 would have been the key from a marketing standpoint, because who in the world didn’t know about British Petroleum oil during 2010?
And if you do the math, the fiscal value of his bonus figures out to just about a dollar and change for every barrel of oil he spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tony, he’s good at his job.
Iris Cross, spokesperson (she’s from New Orleans don’t ya know) for British Petroleum in some of its more recent – Hey! The Gulf is improving! – commercials was sought for comment and from the set of her latest feel good BP video montage said she saw nothing wrong with the bonus, citing some of the other rewards that have been awarded of late…such as Feinberg’s bonus of $200 million dollars from the GCCF fund, given to himself for successfully promoting an exceptional air of customer service, or the Shaw Groups awarding of a $3 million dollar bonus direct from Louisiana’s coffers for its skill at building the Great Wall of Sand across the retreating Louisiana coastline…and who can forget the 6 percent bonus that Carl Barbier gave to attorneys from the Plaintiff Steering Committee for (kind of?) helping out GCCF claimants who never met a single one of these jerk-offs while settling with Feinberg’s claims fund?
Okay, that last one was real…and seriously, so is the bonus Tony Hayward is in line to get…
So, what the hell?
Let me be the first to go on record and say that if Tony has a decent bone in his body, he’ll smile, accept those shares and then immediately liquidate them, before spreading that money across the Gulf Coast, at least as extensively as the oil he spilled across the lives of four states.
Then, and only then…can he even begin to think about getting his fucking life back…
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
In an article published online last evening, David Hammer of the Times-Picayune called into question whether over 50,000 plaintiffs attempting to sue BP in the trial beginning February 27th would have their suits rendered ineligible for compensation because they didn’t try to get money from Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility first.
“The “presentment” issue could endanger 60 percent of them (court claims). In August, Barbier ruled that claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 would have to meet presentment requirements – to seek redress from BP or its designee, Feinberg – to be eligible for compensation.”
Over 50,000 claims potentially knocked out before we even get started? Wait a minute, don’t these 50,000 plaintiffs have attorneys from the Plaintiff Steering Committee? Let’s assume more than a few of them do. Okay then, so what happens if all 50,000 of these legal claims are thrown out of court by Judge Barbier, over half of all the private legal claims? On what basis did the members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee not advise their clients to go ahead and file with Feinberg first, just to get it out of the way? Hell, the claims wouldn’t have even had to be all that detailed, right?
Kind of a legal technicality sort of thing?
“Dear Ken, please send me fourteen dollars for lost wages, contracts, time, illness, etc…”
And then when Ken and the GCCF offers a nickel, the plaintiff turns him down and all done!
Legal requirement satisfied! On to the MDL!
Okay…well how about one more small question:
If 50,000 plus claimants get tossed out, this would seem to indicate that the Plaintiff Steering Committee could have been doing a much better job of steering the plaintiffs, so then shouldn’t they be forced to turn down the 6 percent that Feinberg is now holding back from claimants who actually do settle with the GCCF, all $650,000 dollars of it so far?
Because if you’re getting that 6% for claimants indirectly benefitting from your legal expertise and your legal expertise kinda blows, it would seem they should get their indirect money back…
It’s a thought.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Heading out to New York City for a little while…gotta go hear some music and words, see some art and weather permitting (which in this winter of warmth seems quite possible) do a whole lot of wandering…
Maybe I’ll even pay a visit to a certain attorney at Feinberg Rozen, LLP, tell him in person what a great job he’s been doing along the Gulf Coast.
Pearl Jam – I Believe in Miracles (Ramones cover) Live at Madison Square Garden
Have a nice week.
So, in determining guilt and any possible fines under the Clean Water Act, welcome to another day in court, another episode of the 3 Stooges, starring BP, Transocean and Anadarko…Please, follow along and keep in mind that of course, no one is to blame except for everybody else.
First, allow me to introduce Department of Justice Senior Attorney Steven O’Rourke who explained how simple this all should be under the Clean Water Act – “Any person who is the owner, operator, or person in charge of any vessel … or offshore facility from which oil is discharged” will face Clean Water Act fines.
Okay, so British Petroleum is part owner of the lease to the well, and operator of the Deepwater Horizon, Anadarko is also part owner of the lease while Transocean owns the rig.
And, O’Rourke continued, “Each defendant admits that the oil came out of the well through the blowout preventer riser and was discharged into the Gulf of Mexico. They’ve admitted they were owners and they’ve admitted the discharge from the well.”
Well, that was easy enough…all three, guilty as fuck – so moving on to the amount of the fines…
Uh…what? Not that easy? Who says its not that easy?
David Salmons, lawyer for Anadarko said no way, man…Anadarko can’t be held liable because they are part owner of the well and the oil, it discharged from the Deepwater Horizon and since they had no control over operations onthe rig, and since the oil can’t come from both the vessel and the well, it obviously came only from the vessel.
Andrew Langan, lawyer for British Petroleum said no way, man…the oil couldn’t have come from both the well and the vessel, we agree with Anadarko about that and the oil, it definitely came from the vessel and Transocean owns all that shit.
Kerry Miller, lawyer for Transocean said no way, man…they are only liable for the oil that made it to the surface and all that subsea oil, you know, almost all of the oil unleashed into the Gulf…it all belonged to both British Petroleum and Anadarko who leased the well, so send them the bill, not us.
And there you have it…4.9 million gallons of oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico and the only person anyone can say for sure did it, was anyone else but me.
But wait, Mr. O”Rourke then decided to try again, do his best to summarize it for the Judge: “Transocean is saying it came from the well so BP and Anadarko are liable; Anadarko and BP are saying it came from the vessel so Transocean is liable. The government says all of them are correct. They’re all liable.”
It’s like he didn’t hear a single thing the other lawyers said at all…
No wonder he works for the government, obviously way too dim to work for any of these plaintiffs.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
“We all knew we were experiencing health problems, but if you don’t have money and access to health care, it’s a win for BP,” said Carol Farmer, 52, of Milton. “No one knows about us, and BP can brush it under the carpet.”
The country remains largely unaware of health problems occurring to cleanup workers and others in the Gulf of Mexico and those that are sick, don’t know for sure the extent of their illness…or what they can do about it.
That’s a whole hell of a lot of not knowing, and that makes a whole lot of fear. Hoping to help, the National Institute of Health is doing a long-term study of health problems in the Gulf, especially focussed on the clean-up workers and at a recent workshop in Gulf Breeze, 100 or so people showed up to take part, including Carol Farmer. The goal of the workshops and community meetings is to enroll up to 55,000 of the 150000 cleanup workers. Individuals participating in the health screenings will be told of any health problems and referred to doctors or clinics who can treat them at low or no cost.
The goal of the study is to better determine how to handle oil spills in the future.
That way, hopefully, there will be fewer problems such as:
Eddie Casanova 46, of Fort Walton Beach, said the whole left side of his body has rashes and bumps that came up after he began working the oil spill on Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens, Johnson Beach and Pensacola Naval Air Station in 2010 and 2011.
Charles Everhart, 60, was on one of the first cleanup teams to hit the beaches in the summer of 2010 when the air was full of noxious fumes from the oil washing in from the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, he’s been having eye, respiratory and throat problems, “I used to jog three miles a day,” he said. “Now, I can’t run a block without huffing and puffing.”
Many others in the crowd who worried about immediate health problems…problems they say are being dismissed by doctors or left untreated because they can’t afford medical treatment or don’t have insurance…
Yes, money…again, money…always, money…
Money’s the reason BP won’t entertain too much discussion about health problems as it might open their company up to litigation or liability, and money’s likely the reason why Feinberg, unlike his fund for Agent Orange and 9-11, is demanding proof of causality in order to make a health claim against the GCCF, something very, very difficult to do…
But, not everybody is dealing with so many worries as BP CEO, Bob Dudley reports:
“BP added exploration prospects equivalent to an area the size of Italy, an unlikely outcome given the firm’s role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. ‘One of the surprises is that I thought we would have a more difficult time taking on exploration roles,’ the American said. It’s been the best year in 30 years for increasing exploration acreage for BP’, he added…”
BP and Bob Dudley crow away about how they’re back in business, making big profits, expanding…while many of the people their spill hurt, or made sick are still in the dark waiting…wondering…unable to afford medical treatment or the peace of mind contained in knowing when it will also be their time to finally get their lives back…
You know, just like Bob.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.