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Bondi asks private lawyers for help with oil spill litigation

by Dara Kam | October 7th, 2011

Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a request for proposals from private lawyers for help in legal action related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In a press release issued late this afternoon, Bondi said the one-page RFP doesn’t mean the state is going to be suing BP or any of the other parties involved in the massive oil blow-out that stained Panhandle beaches and strained the entire state’s tourism industry last year.

“The proposal is part of an exploratory process that is non-binding and does not signify imminent litigation,” the release said.

Interested lawyers should show their experience in other similar cases, familiarity with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and how well-suited their firms are to handle complex, expensive litigation. Lawyers also have to say if they want to be paid hourly, by a contingency fee or a combination. Florida law has a sliding scale capping how much the attorney general can pay outside firms ranging from 25 percent for recoveries up to $10 million to 5 percent for settlements over $25 million.

Yesterday, Bondi gave the U.S. Justice Department guidelines on what she wants from an audit of BP claims czar Ken Feinberg, prompted by complaints about his handling of the $20 billion fund for victims of the oil spill.

Bondi asked that the audit look at:
- Discrepancies in payments to similarly situated claimants;
- Documentation required by Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility;
- Whether Feinberg’s delays in processing interim payments forced claimants to accept “quick pay,” or final settlements, which require them to sign away their right to sue in the future;
- How different industries are being treated;
- The extent to Feinberg relied on how close a claimant was to the oil spill to decide whether or how much a claimant deserved.

Two Delray Beach residents have been charged with bilking the GCCF of more than $340,000 and using the money to rent luxury homes and buy expensive cars and boats. The duo made their first appearance before a U.S. magistrate in Miami today in what the U.S. Attorney’s office is calling “the largest financial loss case brought to date arising from claims filed in connection with the Deepwater Horizon explosion and pollution incident.”

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3 Responses to “Bondi asks private lawyers for help with oil spill litigation”

  1. mike Says:

    Good luck blondie. scott took an early payout from bp. As usual,with rick scott, Fl has no option but more failure.

  2. Mark Putnal Says:

    I have complained directly to Pam Bondi’s office only to be completely ignored. There are many questions that should be being asked of the GCCF:

    1. How can you apply a cookie cutter methodology to every business when there are completely different economic vulnerabilites?

    2. Why do you insist on using 2009 revenue to project 2010 and beyond revenue? Forensic accounting supports using 4 years of revenue data, discarding the highest and lowest years and then averaging the other two years for accurate projections. 2010 was trending up over 30% before the spill. Sales momentum was completely destroyed after the spill.

    3. Why do you insist on using gross profit minus saved expenses for loss of income percent? Small business has fixed expense and little or no labor to cut. Small business can not leverage cash flow to cover recent investment cost, damages to underutilized land, damages to underutilized buildings, damages to underutilized equipment, damages to volume sales and purchases, damages to expansion equipment not able to start up and lost profits from all investments made toward expansion.

    4. Why do you spin the numbers of successful payouts when many of those payouts did not require any documentation or was to entities associatied with BP (10 million dollar payout to one company).

    5. Why did you tell claimants that your were independent from BP in the beginning? This is an adversarial process for small business and a political process for government and big business entities. Small business gets shafted every time.

    6. Why do you keep changing the methodologies to discount BP. BP is the negligent party in this.

    7. Why does BP continue to advertise that they want to make businesses “whole” again. When the present methodology is applied to small business claims the GCCF becomes a form of bailout for BP.

    8. Why do you not compensate for the “unknown” factor in drilling a mile below the surface and future consequences of that capped well. There have been additional leaks at the well site that have been determined to be from Macondo.

    9. What are the full list of ingredients in the dispersants? Are you waiting to release these chemicals until dilution begins to work in your favor?

    10. What about future health risks in both the oil and dispersants?

    I have asked Pam Bondi’s office these questions and they have responded in a less than helpful manner.

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