Feinberg Takes Center Stage on BP Claims Process
The New York Times ran a nice profile this weekend on Kenneth Feinberg, the White House appointee charged with overseeing the claims process from the Gulf oil spill.
With BP expected to permanently cap the Macondo well next month (even with reports of seepage near the well), expect to hear a lot more about Feinberg as the country’s focus shifts to paying victims for the damages incurred from the spill. Feinberg is currently overseeing the process of providing so-called “emergency” interim payments to claimants.
But the Times notes:
Then, 90 days after the well is finally plugged, comes the tougher phase of the three-year program: negotiating with each claimant for the lump sum to cover economic losses from the spill. Those who accept the payment will have to sign a waiver stating that they will not sue BP.
In other words, beginning in November, oil spill victims will file a claim covering all expected future damages from the disaster. They will then be offered one flat payment, likely before they (or scientists) understand the full damage the spill will cause to the Gulf economy years down the road. And, if they accept the payment, they will be barred from suing BP at a later date for more damages.
The strategy is meant to avoid years of protracted legal battles over economic losses.