Added by Gary Dunn on November 18, 2010
Business owners affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be required to transfer their right to sue other defendants to the company if they want to seek compensation from the BP Plc’s oil spill fund.
The administrator of the $20 billion fund, Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the compensation scheme, has been circulating the proposal to lawmakers and attorneys for comment as part of a proposed final set of fund rules.
The proposal would offer affected parties full payment for documented damages, and would help BP collect billions of dollars from other corporate defendants who would be required to contribute to the compensation fund. These include Halliburton Co. and Transocean Ltd.
Bob Percival at the School of Law in Baltimore’s University of Maryland, said: “I think the most significant thing about this is it reconceptualizes the fund as not just BP’s share but BP trying to settle all the claims with whoever accepts it and then being able to go after the others for a contribution.”
The proposed rule would work much like a car insurance, which seeks compensation from a negligent driver if its client has been involved in an accident that occurred as a result of that driver’s carelessness.
Feinberg emphasised that the decision to implement the proposed rule is his responsibility, not that of BP. The final rules are expected to be released among increasing criticism of Feinberg for slow and inconsistent payments of compensation claims.