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Bondi enters BP fray again — against the trial lawyers

Friday, January 13th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has weighed-in on the side of business owners and individuals harmed by the BP oil spill — challenging a judge’s ruling that helped establish a payment plan for trial lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier last month ordered that 6 percent of all settlements reached after Nov. 7 be reserved to finance the work of plaintiff lawyers in continuing litigation stemming from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In turn, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, in charge of distributing non-lawsuit claims, halted payments to thousands of businesses and people waiting for compensation. Facility administrator Kenneth Feinberg has said he ordered the freeze while seeking a clarification from Barbier on his ruling.

Bondi has filed a legal brief challenging the judge’s order — saying it’s unfair to those who tried to go through the Gulf Coast Claims system established to accelerate payments and avoid lawsuits.

“Individuals and businesses that suffered financial losses due to the oil spill deserve to receive fair compensation as quickly as possible, and that compensation should not be reduced due to the overreaching demands of plaintiffs’ lawyers who have done nothing to help them,” Bondi said Friday. “I have asked the Court to ensure that claimants receive the full compensation that they deserve.”

 

 

BP claims czar agrees to appear before House committee

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

BP claims czar Ken Feinberg will appear before the House Economic Affairs Committee on Feb. 18, his office confirmed to committee chairwoman Dorothy Hukill.

Hukill, R-Port Orange, and other lawmakers want Feinberg to explain why tens of thousands of Florida business owners, most of them in the Panhandle, are having so much trouble having their claims paid after the massive oil spill last spring created an economic catastrophe in the region.

Feinberg, in charge of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, has been the target of attack by numerous lawyer, lawmakers, Florida residents, and, most recently, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who’s demanding a White House investigation into Feinberg’s process.

Among the complaints: applicants are paid a fraction of what they believe they should receive, with no explanation; individuals are unable to speak with anyone directly about the details of their claims or where they are in the process; a seemingly willy-nilly approach to payment of claims that are nearly identical.

Feinberg insists he’s doing the best he can with the more than half million claims he’s received, and he continues to promise to improve his system.

The public can comment on Feinberg’s draft protocols, released last week, for handling interim and final payments by e-mailing: MethodologyComments@gccf-claims.com.

The methodology for determining eligibility and payment can be viewed here.

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