Lumpy Can’t Sue
Feinberg Spill-Fund Recipients Can’t Sue BP, Companies Involved
Victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill won’t be able to sue any of the companies involved with the Deepwater Horizon disaster once they accept a final payment from BP Plc’s $20 billion compensation fund.
Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington attorney administering the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, released an outline today of how such final claims will be judged. The guidelines extend the liability waiver beyond BP to companies such as Transocean Ltd., which owned the rig that exploded in April, and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, part owners of the well that ruptured..
While yesterday was the deadline for filing claims for emergency payments, individuals and businesses can still apply for interim payments every three months and retain their right to pursue a final remedy in court. Only when accepting lump-sum payments from the compensation fund do they give up the option of suing BP and its partners.
“They can accept a lump-sum final payment for all present and future damage and surrender their right to sue by signing a full release, or they can continue to receive quarterly interim payments based upon documented past damage for that three month period,” Feinberg said today in a statement.
The fund has paid more than 127,400 claims for a total of more than $2 billion, according to a status report dated yesterday. The fund has received more than 439,000 applications for emergency and final payments.
Feinberg is also setting up an appeals process for claimants who receive compensation in excess of $250,000 and don’t feel the total was adequate.
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