Federal court takes over BP’S Gulf oil-spill claims
NEW ORLEANS | The man who has overseen the long, complicated job of paying out billions of dollars to the victims of the BP oil spill was relieved of his duties Thursday when a federal court took over the claims process in the aftermath of a historic settlement agreement.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s order calls for a court-appointed administrator to take over from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility led by Kenneth R. Feinberg, who previously oversaw a compensation fund for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The move is part of a proposed multibillion-dollar settlement between BP and plaintiffs’ attorneys representing more than 100,000 individuals and businesses.
“It was a difficult assignment, but I think we fulfilled our mandate,” Mr. Feinberg said. “I think we did the job and we did it right.”
BP agreed to pay up to $20 billion to compensate commercial fishermen, charter captains, property owners, hotels and others who claim they suffered economic losses after the spill. The GCCF has processed about 221,300 claims and paid out more than $6 billion from the fund.
The judge appointed Lynn Greer, a Richmond-based attorney, to fill in for Mr. Feinberg and serve as transition coordinator. Patrick Juneau, a Lafayette, La.,-based attorney, will take over and serve as the court-appointed administrator for economicloss claims if Judge Barbier gives preliminary approval to the settlement announced last Friday. of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of lawsuits that seek to overturn the law entirely.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily halting a section that says courts can’t enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state.
The law adopted last year was challenged by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit heard arguments last week but said it won’t rule on the overall case until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said he strongly disagrees with the court’s decision.
“I will continue to vigorously defend Alabama’s immigration law in the courts,” he said. “I am hopeful that the Supreme Court’s coming decision in the Arizona case will make clear that our law is constitutional.”