On Monday, BP told an appellate court panel that the terms of a multi-billion dollar settlement related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are being misinterpreted by trial lawyers, leading to “fictitious, exaggerated, and excessive awards.” The settlement included a fund to compensate victims of the spill, but BP says some payments are going to businesses that weren’t directly affected by the spill and other payments are being artificially inflated by the process the claims administrator is using.
Writing in the New York Times, Joe Nocera worries that the rule of law is being eroded in Louisiana:
We like to talk in the United States about our belief in the rule of law, but the truth is that what is going in Louisiana today is not all that different than when a corrupt Russian official creates a fake tax liability to line his pockets at the expense of some hapless company operating in Russia. “This is Louisiana, after all,” a local plaintiffs’ lawyer told Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently. “A big foreign company with deep pockets, and you’re surprised there’s a feeding frenzy? Come on, man.” Vladimir Putin couldn’t have put it better himself.
This days after an announcement that former FBI director Louis Freeh will look into allegations of kickbacks being paid to one of the attorneys working for the fund administrator.