Second lawsuit against Kenneth Feinberg filed in Florida

By Alejandro de los Rios | Jun 23, 2011


A second lawsuit has been filed in the state of Florida against Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), claiming the GCCF "starves" claimants before paying a "miniscule percent of all damages."

Tampa attorney Brian Donovan filed the lawsuit June 15 in Florda's Twentieth Judicial Circuit court of behalf of Selmer Salvesen, a Florida clam farmer.

The Donovan Law Group announced the filing in a press release June 21.

The press release states the suit charges Feinberg and the GCCF with "gross negligence, fraud, fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment."

This is the second suit filed by Donovan against Feinberg and the GCCF.

In February, Donovan filed a similar suit on behalf of a marine salvage facility that saw a dramatic drop in business as a result of the 2010 BP oil spill.

The suit in February claimed Feinberg and the GCCF have circumvented "many of the rights provided to victims of the BP oil spill under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990." It also claims that the defendants "employ a 'delay, deny, defend" strategy against claimants.

In the most recent suit, Donovan alleges that, "274 days after Mr. Salvesen presented a claim for damages to BP, GCCF finally denied his claim."

The lawsuit claims Feinberg's denial of Salvesen's claim "is in keeping with the 'Delay, Deny, Defend' strategy".

"Mr. Salvesen is not able to sue Defendants under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 ("OPA") because his damages did not "result from" the oil spill and Defendants are not 'responsible parties,'" the press release states.

"Here, [Feinberg's] "Delay, Deny, Defend" strategy and associated tortious acts, not acts by BP, resulted in the financial ruin of Mr. Salvesen."

Feinberg has come under fire from plaintiff lawyers in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Plaintiff and government attorneys have questioned whether the GCCF and Feinberg are complying with the OPA.

In February, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier - who is overseeing oil spill multi-district litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana - ruled that Feinberg was indeed an agent of BP and instructed him and the GCCF to modify their claims forms to clarify that stance.

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