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Confusion among BP Oil Spill Claimants

The National Law Journal (2/3, Bario) reported on New Orleans Judge Carl Barbier's ruling that Gulf fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg must declare to claimants he his working on behalf of BP. Barbier said, "The hybrid role of Mr. Feinberg and the GCCF has led to confusion and misunderstanding by claimants, especially those who are unrepresented by their own counsel." The ruling also "ordered the parties to submit briefs by Feb. 11 on whether BP is complying with the" Oil Pollution Act "in both its claim evaluations and the releases it has required claimants to sign." The OPA contains provisions requiring "a claims process for short-term damages."

The Christian Science Monitor (2/4, Guarino) reports the ruling echoed critics who
said "because Feinberg is paid by BP, there's a built-in conflict of interest that stacks the entire claims process against the people who are seeking redress. Their allegations came amid Feinberg's revelation that damages are likely to total about $10 billion – or half the $20 billion that BP has laid aside for that purpose."