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Feinberg's law firm paid $850,000 a year by BP. He handles Gulf oil claims. Transparency needed? [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:31 PM
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Feinberg's law firm paid $850,000 a year by BP. He handles Gulf oil claims. Transparency needed?
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Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 02:01 PM by madfloridian
Oil spill claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg was recently back in Florida admitting there had been mistakes made. The news is really not covering just how badly Gulf residents were hurt in many areas. It's a shame how poorly this has been handled.

A Tulane law professor, Edward Sherman, was hired by plaintiff counsel to determine whether the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is meeting expectations.

From Courthouse News Service:

Feinberg's Independence From BP Questioned

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A legal expert says aspects of BP's oil spill compensation fund made through its Gulf Coast Claims Center "do not comport with the usual standards for transparency and fairness." Kenneth Feinberg's law firm receives $850,000 a month while Feinberg oversees claims for BP. Tulane law professor Edward Sherman was hired by plaintiff counsel to determine whether the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is meeting expectations.

Sherman made the statement in a 5-page declaration submitted to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is hearing the consolidated complaints stemming from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Sherman wrote that a claims center should be established with standards of "independence, neutrality, and experience," should adhere to judicial supervision, and should be transparent about where its funding comes from.

Claimants should be told Feinberg was hired by and is paid through BP, Sherman wrote. He says this would help claimants determine for themselves whether Feinberg's statement that claimants are better off not litigating may be influenced by Feinberg's contract with BP.

Also one of the three firms picked by Feinberg to handle claims has already been working for BP.

Ken Feinberg appoints law firm working with BP to advise oil spill claimants

One of three law firms appointed by Ken Feinberg last week to advise people filing damage claims through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has been working for BP since at least June, according to contracts obtained by the Press-Register.

A press spokeswoman for claims czar Ken Feinberg said that he was aware that the Mississippi-based Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes law firm had been doing some work for BP when he chose the company to advise claimants.

Even though our government has declared gulf seafood to be safe, there are serious problems. The seafood industry has a lot of questions for Feinberg.

From The Florida Independent:

Florida seafood industry poses questions for Feinberg

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has been paying claims to tourism businesses affected by the BP oil spill, but a fishing industry representative told the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee that another group of businesses seafood wholesalers may not be faring as well.

Robert Jones of the Southern Fisheries Association said the facility is paying a lot of claims, but some wholesalers, particularly larger ones, dont seem to be making it through the process, or they are receiving far less than they requested. Others in the industry have reported wild variations in terms of who gets paid and how much, which Jones said has sometimes seemed based on whoever gets the lucky claims adjuster.

Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg has pledged to correct such inconsistencies when the facility begins paying final claims in February.

Hes a very nice man just enthusiastic and credible, Jones said of Feinberg. But he could use more oversight, and should provide quantifiable information to show that the problems are being corrected.

If Feinberg's firm is getting $850,000 a month, there most certainly should be oversight.

I have my own idea as to why Feinberg did not devote so much attention to this as he should have done. He was hired by Randi Weingarten of the AFT (teachers'union)to plan a way to fire tenured teachers more effectively.

That plan was only recently turned in to the union.

Feinberg in FL admitting mistakes in Gulf payouts. Too busy with plan to expedite teacher firings...

In case you are interested in the report on firing tenured teachers more effectively, you can read about it here at Education Week.

The process for removing tenured teachers accused of crimes or malfeasance should be expedited, taking no longer than 100 days from start to finish, concludes a memorandum commissioned by the American Federation of Teachers.

Prepared by Kenneth R. Feinberg, a lawyer well known for overseeing aspects of damage payments for the 2010 BP oil spill, the proposal calls for a better screening mechanism at the district level to weed out allegations without merit. Impartial hearing examiners would hear legitimate cases and issue a binding ruling.

Feinberg came back to Florida after that report was finished, claiming he made some mistakes and it has taken him longer to get a handle on things. That statement stunned me. He is playing with people's lives.

Weve made some mistakes, he said, and the facility will take another look at those issues when those claimants seek final and interim payments.

Feinberg stopped short of offering a formal appeals process, which some Florida officials, including former Attorney General Bill McCollum and outgoing Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon, had been calling for. Right now, only claimants receiving more than $250,000 can appeal the funds decisions.

Feinberg said it has taken him longer than expected to get a handle on the long-term outlook for the Gulf Coast, but that the claims fund he oversees will begin making quarterly interim and final payments in February.

There is very little known about the outlook for the future of the Gulf. In fact we already know that BP attempted to buy off university researchers around the area.

When a company pays the researchers there's a chance their findings may not be quite accurate. There has been a vital window in time to do what could be done for these people around the Gulf of Mexico. More and more I am getting the feeling it has been ignored, swept under the rug as an inconvenience.

Yes, Feinberg needed more oversight on this job. It's a tragic situation.

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