Appeals panel for BP Gulf oil spill damage claims formed
The 25-person panel was appointed by Jack M. Weiss, the chancellor of the Louisiana State University Law Center. The panel will look at appeals for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was set up to handle the billions of dollars in claims against BP and the other companies involved in the April 20, 2010 rig explosion that led to the release of 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Weiss called the appointees “highly competent, respected and experienced men and women from the Gulf states.”
The panel includes retired judges, law professors and trial lawyers.
The appeals judges include former state supreme court justices, law school deans and professors and other members of the legal community.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility in March hired Jack Weiss, chancellor of Louisiana State University’s law school, to select the panel of appeals judges.
Anyone who files a claim valued at more than $250,000 can protest the claims operation’s initial ruling to the appeals panel. BP can protest the decision on any claim above $500,000.
The judges will serve in panels of three. The panels will have 14 days to rule on each case before them.
If claimants are not happy with the appeals ruling, they can file their claim with the U.S. Coast Guard, or sue BP and other companies involved in the spill.
More than 500,000 people and businesses have filed for damages with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, 2010, leading to a massive oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.
So far the claims facility has paid out nearly $4.4 billion, but business owners and elected officials have criticized the operation, run by attorney Ken Feinberg, for offering payments that are too small and forcing spill victims to go through an onerous process to prove their losses.