Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General, has finally prevailed over Ken Feinberg.
It was back in February when Hood filed a subpoena against Ken and the GCCF, requesting to see the records of claimants who had given their permission for such a review, and it was a subpoena Feinberg at first ignored, then denied and fought, arguing its validity should be heard in court, but not in a Mississippi courtroom, it should be heard in a Federal Court.
US District Judge Carlton Reeves said nahhhh; he dismissed Feinberg’s request for a stay, which would have stopped all proceedings until it was decided whether the subpoena should be included in the MDL proceedings in Barbier’s Court in New Orleans.
“Until a transfer to a (MDL) has become final, a district court’s jurisdiction over pretrial matters is in no way impeded,” Reeves said. “And when a litigant improperly removes a case, the limited jurisdiction of federal courts is impermissibly invoked, resulting in an undue delay of a state court’s rightful duty to address a case’s merits.”
So back to Hinds County Chancery Court court we go…the court where Hood filed his suit against the GCCF back in July because of Feinberg’s unwillingness to respond.
“We have maintained all along that this issue belonged in a state court since we brought it under state law, and we are obviously pleased that the judge agreed with us,” Hood said in a press release. “We would hope that the GCCF and Mr. Feinberg could just do the right thing by the law and comply with our subpoena.”
Hmm…I’m thinking uh, well, good luck with that…
“If the GCCF has nothing to hide, why have they gone to such efforts to avoid compliance?” asks Hood. “We intend to find out.”
I sure hope so, because waiting for this independent federal audit promised by US Attorney General Eric Holder is really getting to be a drag…
Last month, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a lawsuit against Ken Feinberg, stating he and the GCCF had not complied with a subpoena issued last February asking for full access to GCCF records so Hood’s office could put them under review. Among other things, Hood alleges that Feinberg has intentionally stalled payments to oil spill claimants in the hopes financial desperation will encourage settlements with the GCCF.
Feinberg denies this.
Feinberg denies a lot.
Feinberg would still deny he is an employee of British Petroleum if he thought he could get away with it, if Judge Barbier hadn’t ordered him to stop making such claims.
Feinberg realizes that having Hood’s lawsuit heard in Hinds County, Mississippi might not work out real well for the GCCF and himself, so Feinberg moved the case to Federal Court where it will hopefully be heard someplace further away, where fewer have followed his history of shenanigans, false promises, and other assorted obfuscations.
Ken Feinberg: stalling claims, and now also stalling court cases trying to investigate his stalling of claims.
In article after article on the spill and the GCCF, come the words, “slipping through the cracks,” in reference to the inevitability that some who have rightful claim to the British Petroleum compensation fund will be denied payment for any number of reasons…they couldn’t prove their physical ailments came as a result of exposure to the spill, they didn’t have the proper documentation, they didn’t get the help needed in completing their claim, they missed a deadline or maybe they even accepted a quick payment, far too soon, only to find new costs, new expenditures, new problems previously unaccounted for…
In any case, they’ve slipped.
Back in March, Feinberg, administrator of the fund, admitted as much when he said: “Here is the problem that I continually have to address … roughly 80% of the claims that we now have in the queue lack proof…That is a huge number…” Feinberg did not rule out settling claims in the future, but he added: “The claims that were denied had woeful, inadequate or no documentation to speak of.”
What he didn’t say was that all of these claims so summarily dismissed, well over 100,000 of them, were undeserving of compensation, just that they lacked proof.
So how many of them are legitimate claims made by people so harmed from the spill, but for whatever reason were unable to complete the forms to Feinberg’s satisfaction and were then denied? How many of the people who were made offers by the GCCF didn’t have the proper documentation to receive all they deserved and settled for pennies on the dollar?
How could we possibly have an answer to any of these questions?
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated recently, after visiting Alabama to review progress along the Gulf Coast, “I am a little worried about the pace and the transparency” of the claims process, Holder said. “We have to ensure that it keeps pace with the restoration of this most beautiful part of the country.”
And so we come back to transparency, yet again…something Feinberg promises and doesn’t deliver, again….so the Gulf Coast is left to take his word for it, again.
Holder continued, “My voice has not been as loud as maybe it should have been…There are issues here, legitimate issues, that have to be discussed. Things have to be done better.”
Yes they do. Start by finally opening the books and making sure mistakes haven’t been made, that claimants haven’t needlessly been left behind.
Then, ask Ken Feinberg some key questions:
1. What is more important, a rigid inflexibility on what can be accepted as proof of damage in the claims process, or claimants being paid too little or left completely uncompensated?
2. Understanding your many statements about the huge undertaking this has been, with well over 400,000 claimants…how it has been hard, difficult, almost impossible to complete, shouldn’t you have hired more professionals to assist claimants and in turn, assist you?
3. By not hiring as many people as necessary which may have made the process less manageable, didn’t you run the risk of making mistakes that have left people unpaid and if so, why did you feel it appropriate to run that risk?
4. If you truly did come to the Gulf to make things right for people, to be fair…why would it be okay for anyone deserving of compensation to go unpaid? If only a matter of timelines, research, investigation or expenditures, shouldn’t it be that the GCCF’s job is finished only when justice is done for everybody in the Gulf?
5. And shouldn’t the aggrieved party, the citizens and businesses of the Gulf Coast be the ones to decide when justice has been done, not you or the GCCF and certainly not British Petroleum?
Feinberg is running this show. He set the methodology for final and interim claims. He is in charge of determining what constitutes appropriate proof. He has taken credit for the no-sue clause attached to quick payments and final claims. He is making the rules, determining who and how many are hired, when claims offices close, when his job is done. So it would only stand to reason that Ken can make changes, just as he is doing with compensation to oyster fishers…so in that light…Ken? How many citizens of the Gulf Coast should get left behind by this process? How many should lose a house, a car, the togetherness of their family and community as a result of this spill? How many Americans should be left to fall through the cracks, for any reason?
Tough questions all but I do have a suggestion, even though it will entail me doing something I typically don’t like to do, but feel is apt given the situation: I’ll answer that question with another.
So, how many people should be left to fall through the cracks by the GCCF?
Well, how many employees of British Petroleum have gone to jail for the events that occurred on the Deepwater Horizon?
Feinberg should be transparent and Feinberg should think outside of the box on these claims, not because he is compelled to do so by the Justice department or even Gulf Coast residents, but because it is the right thing to do. Feinberg should stop being a lawyer and start trying to understand the people and ways of the Gulf Coast so that nobody gets left behind, and he should take as long as necessary to ensure this happens.
Anything less is negligent to his duties and irresponsible to all required magnanimity.
Not one left behind in this mess: a mistake on GCCF paper could very well be someone’s livelihood and/or way of life.
“The idea that there’s some sort of conspiracy to force people to take the Quick Payment is totally false… mounting a soap box and making that argument is no substitute for taking a close look at the statistics, reviewing the claims and seeing what is going on here.”
So says Ken Feinberg in response to Mississippi Attorney General Hood’s district court filing where Hood requested the court appoint officials to oversee the claims process, in effect asking for an audit of the GCCF. Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but it would appear taking a close look at the statistics, and reviewing claims to see what is going on with the claims process is precisely what Jim Hood wants to do.
The problem, it seems, is Hood wants to look at the entire claims process, not just the parts Feinberg is willing to show, or as Hood states, “It just seemed kind of surreal and defensive to me. It seems like they are nervous the judge is going open the books on this process…transparency is what we want.”
Feinberg also writes that Hood’s assertion the GCCF is forcing people into quick payments by way of intentionally stalling claims until people are financially desperate is an “unsupported and damaging assertion.”
I disagree, due to just a few simple facts:
1. This oil spill and its aftermath have been going on just a few days short of a year.
2. Some people have been out of work, or making a minute fraction of what they did pre-spill for a year.
An entire year, Ken.
3. At this point, again, a year later, the GCCF has paid 98% of quick pay claims, $5,000 dollars to individuals and $25,000 dollars to businesses, all of which require people to sign away their rights to sue BP for future damages and at the same time, the GCCF has paid only 3% of interim claims, payments which allow people to keep filing for damages, and thus not waive their rights to sue…this of course can give the appearance claimants, if they need their money bad enough, are being steered to certain choices, and these choices benefit British Petroleum.
4. When claimants do receive a final claims offer, the acceptance of which also requires the claimant to sign a waiver not to sue, these offers appear to be of low monetary amounts.
5. When Ken gets all petulant in the press, stating there is no proof his final claim offers are too low, he often intimates his critics haven’t seen the claims which might prove the GCCF offers to be reasonable, but at the same time, he continually refuses an audit of the claims, something which might clearly show if he is telling the truth, or lying. This lack of transparency, once again, requires the public and local officials to take him at his word…
6. Ken Feinberg’s days of being taken at his word ended a long, long time ago…right about the time Judge Barbier ruled he was not a neutral arbitrator, and further bolstered by his law firm’s recent raise from $850,000 to $1.25 million dollars a month, all paid by British Petroleum.
Again, this has been going on for a year…
It should also be noted that in the court filing that contained Feinberg’s response, it is argued that Barbier’s court has no jurisdiction over the GCCF, claiming the GCCF is “working effectively” and any court intervention would “chill the ability of GCCF personnel to work expeditiously without fear of running afoul of an independent auditor.”
This may very well be true, so long as one considers that British Petroleum is the one the GCCF is “working effectively” for, and when it comes to a fear of an auditor, they mean, an auditor besides BP.
As Jim Hood said in response to Ken’s most recent legal tantrum: “At some point, I’m going to put his tail in a chair and make him raise his right hand in a deposition and get to the bottom of whether him and BP conspired to force people into the Quick Pay process…”
“Transparency is what we want.”
Yes, yes it is…
Transparency is what Ken has promised over and over again…
And these promises have held up about as well as his promises to do right by the residents of the Gulf Coast.
So, as I commented two days ago, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange fired off an angry letter to Ken Feinberg, the BP paid administrator of BP’s compensation fund outlining several objections he had with the process, chief among them being the snail’s pace and meager size of the payments, the lack of transparency in the process, and the stress this is causing to the citizens of his state. Mr. Strange demanded that Ken Feinberg “stop dragging his feet.”
This apparently didn’t sit too well with Mr. Feinberg who promptly wrote a letter of his own, to rebut the charges made by Strange…
Let’s review, shall we?
When it comes to the Quick Pay, Attorney General Strange asserts the reason so many are accepting the quick payments is that claimants are sick of dealing with the GCCF. Feinberg disputes this by writing that claimants take the quick payment because the “claimant cannot prove any further damage.” Maybe, maybe not…many are curious to see if Feinberg is correct in this assumption but its awfully hard tell with so little transparency in the process. Besides, how are we to know if people cannot prove any more damage? Claimants who have accepted quick payments are no longer trying to do so which brings us back to Strange’s assertion, that people choose quick payments out of frustration. One need look only so far as some of the comments being posted by claimants to this website, or the GCCF’s own methodology comments page:
From a business/individual on February 16th, “This methodology is so unfair it now looks good to individuals and business to take the quick pay, you hold all the money and the cards.”
From a business owner on Feb 15th, “Your formula is definitely shaking-down people and businesses that are in a weakened position and are under duress.”
From an individual on Feb 14th, “The thing that really grinds my gears is that you are sitting on 16 billion! You only paid out 3.5 billion to 168,000 claimants…now 1/2 of those are gone because they were desperate and took the quick pay.”
I could continue in this vein, but you get the idea.
Feinberg also combats Strange’s accusation that the GCCF is paying people to go away, that the GCCF is working diligently to protect BP and secure releases for their liability. Feinberg writes how nothing could be further from the truth, that these release are designed to “bring closure to the prospect of endless litigation which is not beneficial either to claimants or the public interest.”
He neglects to mention litigation is also not beneficial to BP.
Nobody likes to go to court Ken, it is a long, drawn out process, but the idea that you are attempting to keep people out of court to give them closure would assume they have otherwise been “made whole.” Seeing how this is far from the case, your suggestion is condescending on two levels: the first being Gulf Coast residents can’t decide for themselves what constitutes closure and the second being people would be so stupid as to not see the waivers as ultimately saving British Petroleum a whole hell of a lot of money.
Next, Strange accused Feinberg of making meager payouts on final claims. Feinberg defends this by once again throwing out large numbers that don’t hold up to some simple math. He says the GCCF has paid $688 million dollars to 28,000 Alabamans. Okay, but this averages out to under $24,000 dollars per claim, a sum Feinberg calls “not an insignificant amount.” I would argue, like Strange, that it is quite insignificant as a large percentage of those claims are not individual claims, but business claims which receive much higher payouts and drive that average up. The future of the Gulf is unknown and the simple idea that these amounts, these averages will compensate for all present and future losses when twenty years after the Exxon Valdez, some industries have yet to rebound is again, laughable.
Feinberg points out that anyone can turn down his offer or appeal it to the Coast Guard. 467 people have tried this and 467 people have been denied, something Feinberg believes shows his process to be fair. Perhaps, or it might also show the Coast Guard is equally stingy and working with the same flawed recovery statistics as the GCCF, recovery statistics that claim the Gulf’s environment will be made whole inside of two years. This is doubtful, as a multitude of independent scientists suggest, and honestly, the Coast Guard has not been a shiny beacon of legitimacy throughout the past year…from Thad Allen’s sweeping pronouncement that they weren’t banning the reporters they were banning, to the way they stated Corexit was no longer being used when it was, to the way they accepted BP’s vastly flawed flow-rates before the well was capped, flow-rates that slowed down the spill response. In fact, I’d be curious to see any example where the Coast Guard didn’t give in to British Petroleum on pretty much anything over the past year, so why would the appeals process be any different? And this doesn’t even touch on the false hope involved in telling claimants if they don’t like the GCCF offer, they can appeal to a different body, a Coast Guard commission that has never ruled in any claimant’s favor.
Ken, isn’t that just kind of rubbing their faces in it?
Next, Strange expressed dismay about Feinberg’s continued inference of fraud being evident in claims made to the GCCF. Feinberg rebuts this by writing the GCCF has sent 1,035 claimants suspected of fraud to the Justice Department, “not an insignificant number.” Actually Ken, it is. Numerous studies have shown that after any major disaster, on average, 10% of claims in any claims process can be considered fraudulent. There have been over 480,000 claims made to the GCCF in total which would make the percentage of suspected fraudulent claims you forwarded to the DOJ ring in at far less than 1%.
Fraud is not a problem in the Gulf Coast claims process, regardless of suggestion by Feinberg, it merely serves as cover to the GCCF’s flaws.
Strange also wonders why Ken Feinberg now omits from his press releases the fact that 310,000 people were denied during the EAP process; the Attorney General further calls this omission another example of the GCCF not being “completely forthcoming.” Well okay, I’ll give that one to Feinberg. He pretty much states these numbers are common knowledge, and they are, so why would he have reason to hide them? The only thing I might consider is that when it comes to framing narratives, and Feinberg is indeed trying to promote the narrative that the GCCF is fair, he probably doesn’t want to start his recitation of final and interim claim numbers by reminding everyone just how many EAP’s the GCCF turned down. 310,000 denials with little to no transparency can cast a long shadow over a conversation on fairness.
Finally, Strange demands more transparency.
He wants Feinberg to release the amount of damages people are claiming versus the amount of damages the GCCF has offered to pay. In response Feinberg writes, “the release of such data would be a useless exercise; indeed it would be counterproductive.”
Useless and counterproductive to who? The GCCF? BP?
He goes on to cite a couple of examples where people have filed ridiculous claims, one person requesting the full $20 billion dollars while another claimant filed damages for $11 billion. Agreed Ken, those claims are ridiculous, but seeing as I can figure that out I’m pretty sure you can trust everybody else to see it as well. You write that people typically file for more damages than they can prove. and this is also true, but what Strange would appear to be looking for is a pattern of low-balling claims, and when your amounts offered are indeed meager, wanting to see this information in order to accurately evaluate your process seems entirely justified.
As I have written before, when it comes to the GCCF, full transparency is warranted. Transparency demonstrates a commitment to justice, to confidence, to credibility, but your credibility has been shown time and time again to be lacking, especially when Judge Barbier ruled you are not “independent” of BP as you so loudly trumpeted for months to anyone within ear shot of the Gulf Coast.
In fact, Barbier ruled you to be a “hybrid entity” of BP, and your claims to transparency are also a hybrid of the real thing, kind of…but not really.
The time where you could be taken at face value, where you could decide what is in the “public interest,” or how the release of information would be nothing more than a “useless exercise” are over. In fact, one could argue, as Strange does in a roundabout way, the only “useless exercise” going on in the Gulf is when you base any pro-GCCF arguments on your word.
Again, from the GCCF comments section come these words from an e-mail sent to you on Feb 14th, “I believe you should revert to the old BP calculations, they seemed fair and well thought out.” Now that is an impressive feat. Ken, once you were a self proclaimed savior to the Gulf Coast, but your Gulf Coast Claims Facility is so backwards, one claimant actually feels BP was the fair one, all along…
Methinks Strange is correct in his words.
Your’s are just one more empty harangue intended to deflect the reponsibility of failing the Gulf Coast.
The Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange wrote a letter to Ken Feinberg about his concerns with the GCCF and the payment of claims, highlighting many of the problems with the process that have been highlighted here and on several other websites.
1. Of all the claims reportedly paid, 98.9 % are the quick pay claims, claims that require no processing and of course require all recipients to waive their and their families rights to sue British Petroleum and a hundred other companies.
2. The average final payment accepted by claimants in Alabama is $12,000 dollars. With all the uncertainty in the Gulf’s recovery, the idea that $12,000 dollars will cover any and all damages is laughable at best.
3. Though Feinberg continually speaks of fraud and lack of documentation, in Alabama only 14.6% of claims required further documentation. The rest were turned down for other reasons, reasons that are not often revealed.
4. Why is it the GCCF now omits from its news releases the number of EAP claims which were turned down? This omission is only one of many example showing transparency continues to be an issue.
5. Although the GCCF seems to enjoy trumpeting the amount of money paid, $3.5 billion dollars, why is they refuse to release the total damage amounts people have claimed, surely billions more than has been paid. The GCCF will not give the complete picture, negating any attempt for people to properly evaluate the success or failure of the GCCF and its process.
Strange goes on to discuss how the GCCF’s botching of the claims process is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of Alabama’s citizens…their mental welfare being strained by frustration and uncertainty with the claims process, the demoralization of being reduced to begging Feinberg for money, the frustration that comes with claims being continually rejected and the realization that this ugly reality created by Feinberg and the GCCF will not be solved in the foreseeable future.
All, while so many lives are slipping into financial ruin, caused by no fault of their own.
Meanwhile, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently announced he will be touring the Coast later this month to hear comments from claimants in the BP oil catastraphuk. The gatherings will be held in conjunction with the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi Center for Legal Services, and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.
“It is important to me to hear directly from the claimants what they have been experiencing in this process,” Hood said when announcing the meetings. The Attorney General has filed briefs in the oil spill litigation, asking for court-appointed monitors to move the $20 billion BP claims process along with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which is handling victim claims.
It is a positive that these two men are speaking out, and listening. This situation in the Gulf continues to be untenable.
It’s been almost a year since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and seven months since Feinberg took over the claims process from British Petroleum and it is unconscionable that people continue to wait for payments…not hand-outs, but compensation from the company who spilled this oil across their lives. Feinberg does his interviews and issues his press releases, yet gives only part of the story, the side of the numbers that sound okay, while burying the rest behind a wall of secrecy. This, while he continues to promise transparency yet time after time delivers little to nothing.
Meanwhile, at the White House, Barack Obama still says nothing…proving that he is just one more president who came down to the Gulf Coast and after giving his speech, took his generators home, leaving the coast in the darkness created by unknowns.
At least Strange and Hood are willing to speak up, make some noise about the travesty that is the GCCF and the ego run wild that is Ken Feinberg…
In the words of Strange, from his letter:
“Rest assured, I will do everything I can to help our victims survive this catastrophe, including holding the GCCF’s feet to the fire. Quit dragging your feet and stalling the large majority of claims to a point where victims are so desperate that they settle for anything. remember, your job is to compensate the victims – not magnify their problems by playing games with BP’s money (to BP’s benefit).”
Have a nice day.
P.S. I might only add, where the hell is James D. “Buddy” Caldwell?
When it come to the GCCF, there is none. The Justice Department has called for transparency in how the claims process is being handled. Attorney Generals in the Gulf Coast have called for it. The residents with claims in the pipeline have demanded it. Feinberg has promised it.
But still, there is no transparency.
Instead we have a wall of secrecy erected around the GCCF and allowed to remain by the neutral arbitrator, Feinberg and as a result there is tremendous frustration by thousands of people who never asked for this oil spill, but are all suffering from its toxicity. Instead we have the stories from the ground of what exactly is occurring and these stories are alarming, disappointing and ridiculous, especially when the problems all come from the agency whose sole purpose was to make things right for the businesses and residents of the Gulf Coast.
We get allegations of private investigators hired by the GCCF. We get indiscriminate payments to some and denials to others, often for people on the same boat. We get deficiency letters that start the waiting periods for payments all over again. We get accusations of online forms with errors, posted intentionally as stall tactics by the GCCF. We get rules that change arbitrarily. We get an informational GCCF website that posts information that doesn’t make sense or is wrong.
Regarding a visit from the private investigators hired by the GCCF:
“My advice is to get a lawyer fast and have them meet you there. This is a EAP claim and most lawyers will give you advice without charging you for whatever you might get in your EAP payment…Not sure where you are at but this could turn real ugly if you don’t protect yourself now. These guys are not nice. They showed up at a friends and was very very rude. (After 3 hours of attacking her paperwork she finally called the police on them. It was something as simple as the IRS didn’t have her name right. She got married and they haven’t filed this years taxes so they did not know about the legal name change when she got married.. She went through HELL….for hours. Finally they realized the problem then she was approved and then still waited almost 30 more days to get paid.) They are there to not to be on your side but on BP’s side. After all they are the ones paying them. Remember they are recording YOU.. it is on them but they don’t tell you. So whatever you say is being recorded.”
Regarding indiscriminate payments to some and not to others:
“Some people were denied and have NO CLUE why! How about the folks who got denied when their coworkers who got paid the same and filed at the same were approved? how fair is that?”
“All these waiters and waitresses bragging about their money driving around in new cars and they deny the people who really need it!! I was denied and still to this day do not know why…my status states “Reason to be posted soon…” WTF-EVER! I filed for my final we will see what happens! Our leaders are being paid by BP that is why they aren’t doing shit to help anyone!”
Regarding deficiency letters and stall tactics:
“Another turn of events…I just received a call from the GCCF informing me that I would be receiving a deficiency letter in the mail. I freaked out on that poor girl! I said “ANOTHER ONE?” She said that she was just giving me a courtesy call in regards to the letter they mailed us on the 28th and upon further digging… she can see the claim I sent on the 30th and the claim on the 3rd. ?? Seriously? Poor girl… I wouldn’t want her job today…I get so many different answers, but no payment….I have no idea what the heck is going on… apparently they do not either…I just NOW received a courtesy call to inform me that my initial claim form was not valid. WTH?”
“The 90 days Final Claim is from the time they receive the documents. But again if there is one thing missing you will have to re-file and then your 90 days will start all over again. This too is another stall tactic. The stats on the website are not correct. Don’t rely on what you see on the website. Feinberg will stall and delay some final and interim payments then push them out to October he will then again announce another Quick Payout for final claims. He is using stall tactics to push to accept quicker and not fair payouts to the claimants. His advice (from an adjuster) is have an attorney and wait because the rules will change again in the next few months.”
“Does anyone know how to withdraw a claim with the GCCF? There was no way to see what files were uploaded when they were completed uploaded and I uploaded the wrong files. Mostly I just don’t want to deal with the GCCF anymore also.”
This is the result of a broken system and a real lack of transparency.
When some claims are accepted, yet others are denied for no given reason…when claimants are made to feel like criminals and have to hire attorneys to ward off private investigators grilling them on their legitimate claims…when the time tables for needed payments are constantly restarted and nobody can tell them why…when the front office of the GCCF tells a claimant one thing, only to have the home office say another and no reason given for this discrepancy…when the GCCF conducts their business at a snail’s pace while people are running out of money, being forced into foreclosure and bankruptcy…when all this occurs, your system is broken.
Yet Feinberg and the GCCF soldier on unaffected, immune to the kind of charges and complaints that if levied against them in a private business, would get them fired.
The GCCF was created for the purpose of making things right on the Gulf Coast, but little is right…not for thousands of residents still stuck in this mess, not for who knows how many businesses…no, little to nothing is being made right at all for those so frustrated by this claims process, unless of course they should happen to own shares in British Petroleum stock.
Louisiana Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell, in conjunction with the Attorneys General’s of Mississippi, Florida and Alabama have warned that Feinberg’s third option may not be the best move for everybody.
“Claimants considering making a quick final payment claim should also evaluate whether their total damages exceed the set amount offered…even if an unforeseen event such as a future hurricane causes more oil from the spill to be washed onshore, a claimant who has signed the release will have lost the right to recover from any resulting loss. This includes fishermen who if they sign the release will be “barred from any additional recovery even if some time in the future the fish population is depleted or fishing waters are closed due to oil.”
Said Kimberly Chauvin, a boat owner and shrimp processor, “I wonder which bonehead came up with that idea considering businesses have been scrapped for the whole year…and they want to come up with a $25,000 settlement? Nobody has thought out a plan, there is no transparency. There is nothing to be of help to the people who have lost the most.”
Feinberg has said he appreciates that the attorneys general are looking out for the citizens, and he believes he is doing that too.
Well, Mr. Feinberg, saying something doesn’t make it so, no matter what you believe or how often you say it, and when you deny almost half of the 465,000 claims outright, saving British Petroleum a ton of money in the process, your words are ringing pretty hollow.
I suppose I could try though…
I will win the powerball on Wednesday. I will win the powerball on Wednesday. I will win the powerball on Wednesday. I will win the powerball on Wednesday…but hey, all you people who were denied? Don’t everybody try out my experiment because if I have to share my winnings with over 220,000 other people, it won’t amount to much…probably about the same as Feinberg’s promises.
Yes, the government is quickly trying to determine how much damage has been done to the Gulf of Mexico. Teams of scientists are working together, sharing information, formulating and completing analysis. They have the NOAA, they have the EPA, they have the FDA and everyone has formed a solid team, comparing notes and preparing a report for the entire country, ready to share it with even those who only show a passing interest in the events of the BP catastraphuk. All will be made public for you, the American voting tax-paying citizen, and those reports will be ready in say, one to two years.
Of course, British Petroleum gets it next week.
From the article in Mother Jones:
Under the federal code governing the damage assessment protocol, as the responsible party, BP is guaranteed a role in the process, and therefore has access to data that the government isn’t required to show the public. This privileged information, of course, gives BP an advantage, since the company now knows what it’s up against in court. In fact, BP has already hired a fleet of scientists to conduct its own assessment of the damage, which the company could use to challenge the government’s analysis. BP’s scientists have signed three-year confidentiality agreements, meaning they can’t disclose their data to the public.
Essentially, we have two teams of scientists working together to discover the true extent of the damage. These two teams have full access to each others information, each others data, all working towards a solution to this massive environmental catastrophe.
One team…the feds, are working very hard to minimize the political damage.
The other team…British Petroleum, is working very hard to minimize their financial damage.
The third team, those independent scientists who want to study and determine a way to minimize the damage to the people of the Gulf Coast, the wildlife, the ecosystem as a whole: they have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and BP CEO Robert Dudley on Tuesday calling for “full and timely transparency of all scientific information” related to the disaster. If the government released the damage data, local and regional conservation and environmental groups could provide valuable insight, said David Pettit, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. But there’s no formal public input period until the government issues its draft restoration plan, which could take years.
Sorry folks, that third team is on a need to know…just like the rest of us…All of us are looking in through BP’s kaleidoscope…sure the colors are pretty but we’ve seen enough to guess just how ugly it is on the other side of the plastic chips…no matter how many pie charts they put on television.