Make us your home page
Instagram

BP's offer of quick cash settlements for oil spill comes with strings attached

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. — The administrator of a $20 billion fund doling out money to gulf oil spill victims said Monday that people who want more cash can now get a quick check within two weeks, but there's a catch: Cashing it means giving up the right to sue BP or receive any more payments.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who took over the claims process from BP PLC in August, said individual claimants who already received some compensation from the fund can get a $5,000 check, but they can't sue BP and won't be eligible for a final settlement. Businesses could seek a $25,000 check. The payments would be issued within two weeks.

The other options are to seek quarterly interim payments for losses until August 2013 or file for a lump-sum final settlement. Getting the lump sum also means giving up the right to sue BP over its April 20 oil well blowout that spewed more than 170 million gallons of crude into the sea. Some who haven't decided whether to accept the final payment or to sue BP can opt for the interim payments in the meantime.

"No more documentation required, no requirement that you add any evidence of damage," Feinberg said of the new option to receive quick cash.

By Wednesday, Feinberg said, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will have paid about $2.5 billion to roughly 170,000 claimants, but many have been complaining the process is taking too long or they are being shortchanged. Some large businesses with claims of more than $500,000 say they haven't been paid at all.

Mississippi seafood processor Keath Ladner said his claim for roughly $1.7 million has been pending for three months, and the losses keep growing. He employs about 70 boats and is one of the largest processors in the state.

Ladner received some money early on, but nothing in months, and said he wouldn't even consider accepting the $25,000 quick payment.

"I think that's the perfect definition of extortion," he said, adding that it feels like Feinberg is keeping people like him waiting for money so they have to accept any "scraps."

Feinberg said the new quick-cash payments are largely for people who think they've already been paid adequately and just want to get on with their lives. He said it could clear the books of thousands of claimants and allow the facility to focus on those seeking interim or final settlements.

Feinberg also said the fund would soon provide free attorneys to claimants who wish to discuss their options before choosing what to do. While BP would pay the attorneys' fees, Feinberg said claimants can count on a representative free of influence from the oil giant and the claims fund.

BP's offer of quick cash settlements for oil spill comes with strings attached 12/13/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.