Jindal and Caldwell criticize GCCF in memo

Alejandro de los Rios Feb. 22, 2011, 10:33am


A memo submitted by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell states that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) falls short of compliance with the Oil Pollution Act (OPA).

The memo was filed Feb. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana as a response to a Feb. 2 order by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling that GCCF administrator Kenneth Feinberg is an agent of BP.

Feinberg, BP and the GCCF have come under heavy scrutiny from plaintiff and government attorneys who claim the compensation process for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been insufficient.

One of five recommendations Jindal and Caldwell make is that BP should "immediately implement an interim payment program and commence interim payments."

They claim Feinberg's failure to implement an interim claims process violates OPA because the GCCF's Emergency Payment Program "arbitrarily ended" in November 2010.

"The bottom line is that there is no interim payment program," it says.

The memo also asks the court to instruct the GCCF to comply with an OPA mandate requiring interest payments on claims.

OPA dictates responsible parties must "pay interest on the amount paid in satisfaction for interim damages," the memo says. "Contrary to this clear requirement of OPA, none of the protocols issued by the GCCF require the GCCF to pay interest on the claims once they are processed and paid."

The GCCF's final claims, which require claimants to waive their right to sue BP or any other party responsible for the oil spill, also violates OPA, Jindal and Caldwell claim.

"The proposed subrogation language should be adjusted to appropriately to reflect BP's role as a responsible party," they wrote.

The current releases should be eliminated, modified to "limit the release only to BP and to prohibit 'double recovery'" or otherwise change to comply with OPA regulations.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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