Posts Tagged ‘Plaintiff Steering Committee’
In the Gulf of Mexico, the government serves two fundamental roles:
1. They are the protective savior, providing certain corporations and clean-up contractors legal cover for any consequences that might arise from the manufacture and use of poisonous products.
2. They are an overprotective savior, goose-stepping boogeymen who don’t know shit about marine life, and waste everyone’s time getting in the way of big oil and natural gas.
Man…it’s a damned if you do situation that’s almost enough to make one sympathetic towards the Obama administration…almost, but not quite.
Nalco, the makers of “safe as dish soap” Corexit, and other companies involved in cleaning up the oil filed a motion in Judge Barbier’s court asking the judge to dismiss them from liability because
their product is safe they were operating on behalf of the feds, and therefore feel they are entitled to immunity from any later health claims.
You see, Nalco only manufactured the stuff, it was the government and BP who actually used it, and that is not Nalco’s fault.
And you see, the clean-up companies only didn’t provide proper protective gear to cleanup workers, it was the government and BP who actually…uh provided…who uh, what, no? Look damnit, the clean-up contractors were working for the government and therefore feel they too should be given immunity from the consequences of all their bullshit money saving, PR working tactics to score contracts and make everyone happy, well, everyone except the actual workers.
Thank God that Plaintiff Steering Committee is in place to put a stop to this kind of corporate dodge. I mean, after the actions of the banks in ’08, what with their causing, then benefiting from the recession at the expense of so many, you just know the attorneys aren’t going to sit still and let yet another group of companies screw the people for their own financial benef…wait, what?
“In mid-February, the plaintiffs steering committee filed a motion saying that it believed that BP would ultimately be responsible for any health issues associated with responding to the spill, so it asked the court if it could remove the clean-up, responder and dispersant defendants from its complaint so it could concentrate on BP. The plaintiffs said that such a move would dismiss the companies from the litigation, but not let them entirely off the hook.”
The PSC filed to remove Nalco and the clean-up companies because going after all these companies would be too hard? Because they just wanted to focus on BP? What, are they not getting paid enough to handle such complexities?
Okay…okay…now true, the PSC did ask for dismissal without prejudice, meaning they can re- file against these companies later, but in doing so…didn’t they just help Nalco and the cleanup companies bolster their case for getting themselves dismissed “with prejudice,” or in other words, dismissed for real? It sure would seem so…the PSC takes a half-step and Nalco sees that half-step and raises them a full, all the while arguing they were just following orders, man…it ain’t them, it was the government. We didn’t tell the Feds to dump two million gallons of this poison into the Gulf, we just brought it in on tanker trucks. They asked. We delivered. Yes, right, and the banks were just trying to turn a profit under the law, they didn’t do anything wrong either.
Recession? What recession?
Cancer cluster? What cancer cluster?
Dolphin deaths off the Louisiana coast?
Huh? What dolphin deaths?
“From February 2010, NOAA has reported 180 dolphin strandings in the three parishes that surround Barataria Bay — Jefferson, Plaquemines and Lafourche — or about 18 percent of the 1,000 estimated dolphins in the bay. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it had found 32 dolphins in the bay underweight, anemic and showing signs of liver and lung disease. Nearly half had low levels of stress hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.
Lori Schwacke, a NOAA scientist, said the dolphins’ hormone problems could not definitely be tied to the oil spill but were “consistent with oil exposure.” Over the same period of time, NOAA says 714 dolphins and whales have been found stranded from the Florida Panhandle to the Texas state line, with 95 percent of those mammals found dead. Normally, the region sees 74 reported dolphin deaths a year.”
So then, it would appear that something is not only wrong in the courthouse, something is very wrong with the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, especially around Louisiana where the oil spill flowed the heaviest…and in response to all this death and dying, the feds stepped in to ban the seismic equipment used by oil and natural gas companies to find geologic deposits for drilling. These seismic surveys are done with air-guns that emit pulsing sounds known to disturb marine mammals and could also disrupt mother and calf bonding for the dolphins. Okay…government being cautious…good and how long is the ban in effect for? Just until the beginning of May when calving season ends.
Again…good, so everybody’s happy, right?
Of course not…
Global Geophysical Services Inc. the company being paid to do these surveys and therefore having no conflict of interest dispute the dangers of their testing, saying, “We see no hazard to them (the dolphins) whatsoever.”
Oh, okay…well there you have it then. The company also notes that since the government has stepped in with their new unnecessary regulations, they have had to lay off thirty people…so there. Man, just give it a day until Jindal’s giving a speech somewhere to talk about what a rat bastard Obama is…
What a drag to be a fed these days.
Not only should the government provide immunity to companies that manufacture poisons or perhaps lack proper cleanup gear, thus causing health problems for untold amounts of people, but the government should stop enforcing regulations that protect marine life in the same Gulf where all those toxic poisons were dumped.
Total drag, these two roles of government in the Gulf:
You exercise a lack of caution, companies demand you provide legal immunity.
You exercise any caution, companies demand you get out the way of big business because you’re costing money and jobs.
It’s gotta almost be enough for Obama to grab a seismic air-gun, march into Barbier’s courtroom and point it at not only the defendants, but the entire Plaintiff Steering Committee and I for one, wouldn’t mind if he did.
Hell, I might even meet him there to see if he’d let me pull the trigger.
That’s the one role I think I’d like to play.
Read the articles:
Have a nice day.
The word is out.
The National Marine Fisheries Service have prepared a number of documents, data about Gulf fisheries and fishers to help the legal types better determine the status of fishing in the Gulf both before and after the spill. Involved lawyers will now be able to read over these documents and answer, for themselves perhaps, a number of questions: the fisheries are okay, or they’re not. The seafood is safe to eat, or it’s not. The water is clear of oil, of toxins, of dispersant residue, or it’s not…or worse yet, maybe the fisheries haven’t been okay for a long time and now they’re just a hell of a lot worse…
Or they’re not.
Good information to have, answers to questions many of us have been waiting for – so the data from the report, it indicates what?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is US Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan has determined this information is not for you, the public to know, not right now, maybe not ever…why? Because you are not a member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee, BP’s legal team or the Justice Department. So even though your tax dollars paid for the study…and even though that study could be a pretty good indicator of the Gulf’s health, and the health of the fish from the Gulf you’re presently eating…
You are on a need to know…
And just like way too much else in this catastraphuk, from the spill’s flow rates to the amount of dead wildlife to a real understanding of Corexit dispersant – it’s health effects and the amount that was used: you don’t need to know…
And your happiness may just depend on it.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
The settlement between British Petroleum and the Plaintiff Steering Committee has been reported to be $7.8 billion dollars, and also without a cap. This means that when all is said and done, if the settlement amount exceeds this monetary figure, well…so be it as British Petroleum has maintained the $7.8 billion dollar amount is only an estimate…could be more, could be less.
Either way, consider the plaintiffs paid.
So yeah, I guess that sounds pretty good and hey, at least more of the people who’ve been waiting all this time while their lives were torn asunder, at least now they will finally…wait, what?
The settlement is different for those with seafood claims? What do you mean, it’s different?
From David Hammer’s article in the Times Picayune:
“In the BP oil spill case, a key component of the proposed class-action settlement between private plaintiffs and BP is a $2.3 billion set-aside for seafood claims, the only part of the settlement that’s capped. That’s what BP is willing to pay to compensate commercial fishing vessel owners, captains and deckhands, as well as oyster leaseholders and harvesters.”
So there is a cap for part of this settlement, and it’s geared specifically for those making seafood claims…Okay, well now, $2.3 billion dollars is still a lot of money. The actual amounts paid to the plaintiffs couldn’t possibly exceed this amount, could they?
After the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, it wasn’t until four years later the herring fishery collapsed, ruining the livelihoods of so many for years, not to mention the damage to the ecosystem.
But we’ve all heard the reports of the differences here…couldn’t possibly happen in the Gulf. The BP scientists were all over this and the Gulf is so much bigger, and the water is warmer and that makes all the difference, yes?
Perhaps…perhaps in the Gulf, it won’t take four years.
It may only take two…
From Stuart Smith’s blog -
The docks and marinas in hard-nosed fishing communities like Pointe-aux-Chenes and Venice, Louisiana, should be bustling this time of year, but today they are eerily quiet and undisturbed, like a world frozen in perpetual limbo – waiting, hoping, praying for the Gulf’s once-bountiful (even legendary) fisheries to produce again. Current reports from up and down the coast indicate the situation is dire indeed.
The oysters have been wiped out. The harvest for 2010 was the worst in more than four decades. And there’s been little improvement since then as oystermen continue to report catches down as much as 75 percent, from Yscloskey to Grand Isle. Some estimates put this year’s harvest at roughly 35 percent of the normal yield – and that’s if we’re lucky. Crab catches are in steep decline. Brown shrimp production is down two-thirds. And the white shrimp season was even worse, leading to descriptions of “worst in memory” and “nonexistent.”
Also, from an article by Dahr Jamail -
“I was at a BP coastal restoration meeting yesterday and they tried to tell us they searched 6,000 square miles of the seafloor and found no oil, thanks to Mother Nature,” Tuan Dang, a shrimper, told Al Jazeera while standing on a dock full of shrimp boats that would normally be out shrimping this time of year. Dang’s fishing experience has been bleak. “Normally I can get 8,000 pounds of brown shrimp in four days,” he explained. “But this year, I only get 800 pounds in a week. There are hardly any shrimp out there.”
When he tried to catch white shrimp, he said he “caught almost nothing”. He is suing BP for loss of income, but does not have much hope, despite recent news of an initial settlement worth more than $7bn. “We’d love to see them clean this up so we can get our lives back, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
Song Vu, a shrimp boat captain for 20 years, has not tried to shrimp for weeks, and is simply hoping that there will be shrimp to catch next season. His experience during his last shrimping attempts left him depressed. “The shrimp are all dead,” he told Al Jazeera. “Everything is dead.”
And experts estimate it could be years before things get back to normal.
That’s years of running up against this cap in the settlement the Plaintiff Steering Committee has agreed to with BP.
That’s years of potential catastrophe with no recourse.
Years, all while British Petroleum continues to make billions of dollars in profit while the Gulf continues to suffer, all as a result of British Petroleum’s actions…and let’s not forget that along with this cap, the settlement also negates punitive damages, and this is not a coincidence, not at all. This is a hasty agreement that leaves thousands in the lurch for what could very well be the collapse of the Gulf’s fisheries…
And this is British Petroleum, business as usual.
Read the articles:
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.
Two days ago, Carl Barbier, the federal judge overseeing the Deepwater Horizon litigation decided that a gang of lawyers, so named the plaintiff steering committee, should benefit from a reimbursement fund, designed to pay them for the money they’re spending to sue BP on behalf of their clients. One of the many problems with this decision is this fund will not be paid for by British Petroleum, the originators of this whole oil spill catastraphuk, but from a 6% deduction from people who’ve settled, including claimants who went through Ken Feinberg’s GCCF, including claimants who didn’t even use the fucking lawyers.
Barbier reasoned the work of the plaintiff’s attorneys had been to the benefit of all claimants involved in the second catatraphuk to hit the Gulf, the aforementioned GCCF.
Barbier then wrote these deductions should be taken from all GCCF claims paid on or before November 7th…otherwise known as two months ago.
In response, Feinberg promptly suspended all GCCF payments until he got an explanation of just how the hell he was supposed to accomplish deductions from payments paid almost two months ago.
Judge Barbier was reportedly then informed that November 7th occurred the aforementioned two months ago, to which he promptly cursed his aides, turned red and hid in the bathroom until coaxed out by those same, aforementioned aides.
At this point, he then spoke to Feinberg on the phone and said he was just kidding about the aforementioned date of November 7th and what he meant to say was that 6% should be deducted from all claims paid on or after December 30th.
Feinberg then reportedly laughed aloud, and thanked Barbier profusely for stepping up and making such an ass out of himself, thus taking some of the heat off the “neutral” arbitrator and his client, British Petroleum.
And then Feinberg resumed payments from the GCCF…paltry as they may be.
So there you have it.
This update has been brought to you by Disgusted Inc.
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Oh…and if you haven’t read this great article on the whole Barbier ruling and all the politics behind it…do yourself a favor and check out Slabbed for all the background on the lawyers and politicans influencing Barbier’s decision…’tis required reading:
Have a nice day.
Is it me? Did I do something wrong?
Did I not give you enough space, enough time with your law books or enough time with your friends?
Did I not make you feel appreciated or understood?
God, I thought what we had was special…
Why it seems like only yesterday you sent me that first signal…when you declared Ken Feinberg could no longer call himself neutral, that he was in fact a hybrid entity of BP and must identify to claimants as such…or even later, you know, when you denied British Petroleum’s appeal and ruled that people could sue BP for punitive damages as a result of the oil spill…
Yes, that one had cemented it, at least for me…I thought we had, you know, “a thing…”
So, over and over on this site I praised your accomplishments, your fair and impartial process, your good common sense and snappy neck-wear, but then, then you did this:
What the fuck, Carl?
That’s the kind of thing that makes a blogger feel really unappreciated Carl, makes me feel really goddamned invisible. No, not boiling pet rabbits on the stove or anything, but Carl? It’s the kind of thing that reminds me judges are typically former lawyers and lawyers typically are…well, you’ve heard the jokes.
What were you thinking Carl?
You decided a fund should be set up to compensate a bunch of lawyers who form the plaintiff steering committee, and this fund would come from a 6% charge on any settlements coming out of this oil spill, including people who settle with the GCCF, even if they didn’t have lawyers to help them do so, and why, what was your reasoning for this?
You wrote: “The PSC (plaintiff steering committee) has strongly advocated on behalf of persons submitting claims to the GCCF, continuing to apply public and private pressure to improve the GCCF claims handling operations.”
I disagree Carl, or perhaps now I should just call you Mr. Barbier. It would seem a lot of that pressure came from the claimants themselves, and from the politicians and the Justice Department…and hey, what about me? I’ve been writing about this bullshit for months, do I get a cut now too?
Oh, and you also decided any settlements with the government get a 4% charge, you know, because the government deserves a discount, what with all the fine monitoring they’ve done of the oil companies and the clean-up in general…and this money, it could have been used on coastal restoration instead of restoring the bank accounts of another bunch of lawyers.
Turns out you didn’t just piss me off with this ruling either…British Petroleum ain’t too happy either…their Public Relations department no doubt would like all to believe this charitable oil company finds it a disgrace that your court would take money from the pockets of claimants, the same claimants British Petroleum has been trying so hard to make whole…though in reality, BP probably wants to know why they have to pay the lawyers who are trying to sue them.
I understand you’re trying to say this is no big deal, that you haven’t actually declared this money should be paid to the attorneys, just that a fund should be created to pay them if you deem it necessary later on down the road but Carl? I don’t care if you’re a judge or not, you can’t have it both ways…that level of arrogance is reserved for someone like Bobby Jindal who saw fit to have his own attorney in the steering committee while his Attorney General stayed out of it, something that has resulted in bit of a conflict, an embarrassment, a public disagreement…and maybe you’d call that a break-up gift Carl, that while so rudely kicking me to the curb, you set the stage to give me a laugh at Jindal’s expense but sorry, that just ain’t enough…especially when as a result of your shenanigans, this happens:
Brilliant Carl…absolutely brilliant.
Now, not only have you decreed that claimants the GCCF paid on or after November 7th have to give up 6%, thousands of claims will now be held up entirely until you decide to clarify this cluster bomb you dropped on the Gulf Coast, on people, Carl…people and businesses forced to wait and endure hardship even longer because you were so casually flirting at the bar with the plaintiff steering committee…
You see, Mr. Barbier?
Not only did you hurt what I thought we had, but when you pulled it our of your pants, you hurt thousands…
And just in case you should read this…just in case you think that maybe I haven’t shown the proper amount of respect to your station and your court of law…well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble Carl, but when it comes to that respect?
I faked it every time.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.