The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, as our readers are aware, set off a massive amount of litigation not only over injuries and deaths of workers and those affected by the toxic spill, but also by those who were financially impacted by the incident. British Petroleum, the primary party responsible for the spill, has been hit with hundreds of lawsuits in connection with the spill and will spend billions to resolve claims.
According to those familiar with the ongoing litigation, the settlement administrator handling claims against BP connected to the Deepwater Horizon spill has not been reaching settlements at a fast enough pace. Since the current administrator took over the process, the rate of settlements has slowed down significantly. At the current rate of settlement, sources say, it will take another 12 years for BP to process its backlog of claims.
Part of the problem, according to those familiar with the process, is that the current claims administrator has no incentive to pick up the pace of settlements, since he makes $300,000 per month in salary. At this point, over one hundred thousand claims still need to be evaluated and it could take years before these claims are processed.
The problem with all of this is not just corporate inefficiency and unnecessary spending, but the fact that many of those affected by the oil spill are still in need of settlement and are financially languishing. Plaintiffs are not the only ones frustrated about the situation. Apparently, BP has requested in a court filing that the current claims administrator be removed because of his operation’s inefficiency and the incidence of fraud.
Toxic tort litigation involving massive corporations is not always easy to pursue. Not only can there be significant red tape to deal with in terms of the legal process, but corporations are not always willing to cooperate with the process. A skilled attorney can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, even though there may be limitations and frustrations in the process itself.
Source: Louisiana Record, “BP settlements slow to a trickle; Critics say system ‘shockingly inefficient’,” Kyle Barnett, October 8, 2014.