Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster
The Gulf Coast is suffering another unspeakable tragedy in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster and the subsequent oil spill. But unlike Hurricane Katrina and the other natural disasters the area has endured, this tragedy was man made and therefore avoidable.
The injuries stemming from this disaster are financial, emotional and physical. The impact of this disaster continues to confound everyone involved.
We too are infuriated by the decisions made (and continuing to be made) by BP and the bodies set up to regulate this profit- motivated corporation. As a result of our frustration, TorHoerman Law has become actively involved with clients who live on the Gulf Coast and are suffering at the hands of this terrible situation. We will continue to monitor the administrative processes, the legal proceedings and the news coverage and will continue to offer our assistance wherever we can.
If you or anyone you love has been affected by the BP disaster, contact us today for a free consultation on your administrative and potential legal claim.
Information on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill is overwhelming and constantly changing. Keeping up with the amount of oil released into the gulf has proven to be a challenge and the extent of the damages are continuing to evolve. We will not try to repeat all of the news that is out there, but, only post the stories that impact or portray the people that we have been fortunuate to be working with, the fishermen/shrimpers and property owners of the gulf coast. Below is a sampling of a few of those stories...
BP walks back its role in the gulf oil spill
CNN Money.com, Shelley DuBois, September 14, 2010
The company might not have to pay all of the $20 billion in claims, incomeing BP CEO Bob Dudley told analysts on Monday...
This may mean that BP thinks it can legally get out of more claims than predicted, probably by blaming them on a tangle of people, equipment, and companies responsible for the Deepwater disaster. Read the rest of the article here.
Gulf Compensation Chief Retreats from Promises to Speed Claims Process
ProPublica Reporting Network, September 9, 2010
Just over two weeks ago, Kenneth Feinberg took over the process for handling damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, pledging to cut down the response time from BP's widely criticized system to two days for individuals and seven days for businesses that file fully documented claims.
After a rocky start in which claimants have reported chronic delays and confusion, Feinberg is now retreating from his targets and acknowledging that the process will take longer than he had pledged. Read more of this article here.
New Gulf Compensation Chief Lags in Processing Claims
ProPulica Reporting Network, August 31, 2010
Just over a week ago, when Kenneth Feinberg took over the process for handling damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, he promised to cut through the delays and confusion that applicants faced under the much-maligned BP system.
But, signs are emerging that Feinberg's goals - particularly his pledge to respond to personal claims for emergency payments within 48 hours - may be overly ambitious. Applicants participating in our BP Claims Project say that they have not received responses within two days of filing claims and that they have encountered an array of service problems, from a system crash to difficulty in transferring critical paperwork. Read more of this article here.
Faster Action for Spill Claims
The Wall Street Journal, Neil King Jr., August 21, 2010
According to new rules released Friday, Mr. Feinberg promises to evaluate six-month interim payments within 24 hours to individuals and within seven days to businesses such as hotels and restaurants. Read the rest of the article here.
August 20, 2010 THL Commentary -
We found the following New York Times article to be informative. It doesn’t detail all of the provisions of the BP Oil spill compensation fund, but explains some of the key provisions concisely.
This article specifically points out a provision that we have found hard to swallow. As the article points out, the fund will not provide relief for plummeting property values in the areas hit hardest by the oil spill. However, in a political deal Mr. Feinberg struck with the governors of Alabama and Mississippi, up to $60 million from the fund will be set aside to compensate negatively affected real estate brokers and agents in the gulf area who were unable to sell those same homes because of buyer jitters.
As provisions of the BP oil spill compensation fund continue to be discussed publicly it is our hope that Mr. Feinberg will resolve inconsistent provisions such as the inconsistent treatment of individuals affected by plummeting real estate values in the gulf area.
The complete New York Times article can be found here. BP fund-seekers might have to waive right to sue, Ian Urbina, New York Times, August 20, 2010
Putting a Face on the Oil Spill
npr.org, August 3, 2010, Claire O'Neil
"My world's been turned upside down," says Chris Wilson, a charter boat captain in Venice, La. "Our life as fishing guides and marina owners — and everybody down here. We used to fish every day. Now we ride around and look for oil, or ride people around, you know. They say we're working, they say they're paying us, but nobody's got paid yet ... I guess it's coming."
This quotation comes from photographer David Zimmerman's latest series, "Gulf Coast." A fine-art photographer based in New York and Taos, N.M., Zimmerman relocated to Louisiana just after BP's April oil spill and, for the past few months, has been using a large-format view camera to put faces to the oil spill. "For all the devastation I saw offshore," Zimmerman writes in his artist statement, "the worst of what I saw was onshore; in the faces and voices of the people who call this place home."
Follow this link to see the rest of the npr.org story on David Zimmerman and be sure to link to the video - there is no better way to understand the devastation then to hear it from the people impacted.
On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay
Justin Gillis and Campbell Robertson, NYT, July 27, 2010
The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster...
The effect on seal life of the large amounts of oil that dissolved below the surface is still a mystery...
And understanding the effects of the spill on the shorelines that were hit, including Louisiana's coastal marshes, is expected to occupy scientist for years. Fishermen along the coast are deeply skeptical of any declarations of success, expressing concern about the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants used to combat the spill and of the submerged oil, particularly on shrimp and crab larvae that are the foundation of future fishing seasons. See more of article here.
BP cleanup wages to be deducted from spill claims
AP wire, July 18, 2010
Anybody that participates in the Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) cleanup program and receives pay will have that money deducted from their total settlement amount. See statement here.
For Kenneth Feinberg, More Delicate Diplomacy
NYTimes.com, July 16,2010
..."This program I am running is absolutely voluntary - nobody has to do it," he (Kenneth Feinberg, Gulf Coast Claims Administrator) said at one stop. "It's my opinion you are crazy if you don't participate."
Mr. Feinberg knew he was facing many skeptics - and cynics - who no doubt wondered if they could get more money from the oil company, not to mention satisfaction, in the courts. He acknowledged the doubters, noting that they were being asked to sign up for "a program that's never been tried, never been tested and they view with some skepticism."...
After the talk, Joseph Buras complained that documenting income would be unfair because the last two years have been cruel to shrimpers, with low prices and high costs.
Mr. Feinberg replied, "If business was bad before the spill, I'm not a magician. I can't change that. At some point I have to say, 'Don't blame the spill - life's unfair!'" See more of the article here.
Cash Business in Gulf Makes Compensations Difficult
Yuki Noguchi, NPR broadcast
June 29, 2010
Taffaro, who was at a recent open house for parish residents in Chalmette, La., would like to see Washington implement a tax amnesty program for oil spill victims who've been operating under the table. Read or listen to the rest of this NPR story here.
Gulf Oil Disaster May Cast Long and Costly Economic Shadow
Jeremy Hsu, LiveScience Senior Writer
May 14, 2010
Oil gushing from an underwater well in the Gulf of Mexico means much more than just a shortened fishing season or fewer tourist dollars for local residents. It could easily translate into lost livelihoods and businesses in a region dependent upon a ruined ecosystem covered in oily sludge. See more of article here.
Letter from Southern Shrimp Alliance, Inc. to NOAA and EPA expressing concerns about the serious effects on marine life of chemical dispersants being used to treat the spill. May 5, 2010. See the entire letter here.