By Brian J Donovan
On October 22, 2012, the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee ("PSC") filed its "Reply Brief in Response to Objections and in Further Support of Final Approval of Economic and Property Damages Class Settlement" with the MDL 2179 Court wherein it makes the following incredulous statements:
(a) "The objectors and objections to the proposed Economic & Property Damages Class
Settlement largely support the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the Settlement Agreement with respect to the members of the Settlement Class."
(b) "Indeed, many of the 'objections' to the Settlement have been filed by people whose
properties or businesses are not covered by the Class Settlement, but who view the agreement so favorably that they object to being excluded."
(c) "Most of the attorneys or classmembers who object to particular aspects of the settlement do not attempt to explain why the Settlement is 'unfair' or 'inadequate' to them, as compared with what they believe they would be entitled to, taking into account both the upside potential and the downside risks and delays if their cases were to be litigated to conclusion. Rather, they complain that the Settlement is 'unfairly' compensating other Class Members more favorably, or contend that they would have hypothetically been treated more favorably by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility."
(d) "It could further be noted that several objections to the Settlement (including a Statement of Interest submitted by the State of Mississippi) have made the case that people who signed GCCF Releases should be able to participate in the proposed Court-Supervised Class Settlement - presumably superior to the GCCF with respect to these settled claims."
(e) "The handful of objections on other Rule 23 grounds appear to be asserted by lawyers who are 'professional objectors' or are otherwise seeking to leverage their own interests or agendas. The objections to the Common Benefit Attorney Fee Agreement fundamentally misunderstand (or misstate) the structure of the agreement, and its benefit to the Class."
Click here to view the known sources of the excessive compensation received by attorneys allegedly doing common benefit work on behalf of BP oil spill victims in MDL 2179.
The PSC concludes: "For these reasons..........the Economic & Property Damages Class Settlement should be fully and finally approved by the Court."
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility ("GCCF") data and Deepwater Horizon Claims Center ("DHCC") data clearly show that the PSC's self-serving arguments are without merit.
The GCCF Data
The GCCF data indicates that a total of 574,379 unique claimants filed claims with the GCCF during the period from approximately August 23, 2010 to March 7, 2012. The GCCF paid only 221,358 of these Claimants. In sum, the GCCF denied payment to approximately 61.46% of the claimants who filed claims; the average total amount paid per claimant was $27,466.47.
The status report data further indicates that the GCCF paid a total of 230,370 claimants who filed claims with the GCCF during the "Phase II" period. Of these, 195,109 were either Quick Pay or Full Review Final payments; only 35,261 were Interim payments. In sum, the GCCF forced 84.68% of the claimants to sign a release and covenant not to sue in which the claimant agreed not to sue BP and all other potentially liable parties; only 15.31% of the claimants were not required to sign a release and covenant not to sue in order to be paid. See "Gulf Coast Claims Facility Overall Program Statistics" (Status Report, Mar. 7, 2012, p. 1).
The DHCC and the GCCF are virtually identical.
The DHCC and the GCCF are virtually identical. Under the GCCF, the evaluation and processing of claims were performed by Garden City Group, Inc., BrownGreer, PLC, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. Under the DHCC, the evaluation and processing of claims shall continue to be performed by Garden City Group, Inc., BrownGreer, PLC, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. Accordingly, although Patrick Juneau has replaced Ken Feinberg, there is no reason to believe that the percentage of claimants denied payment and the average total amount paid per claimant will change under the DHCC.
The DHCC Data
The DHCC data, dated October 26, 2012, indicates that a total of 41,235 claimants have filed Individual Economic Loss, Individual Periodic Vendor or Festival Vendor Economic Loss, Business Economic Loss, Start-Up Business Economic Loss, and Failed Business Economic Loss claims with the DHCC. The DHCC paid only 407 of these claimants. In sum, the DHCC paid only 0.99% of the claimants who filed claims.
Of the 21,058 Individual Economic Loss claims submitted, 204 claimants have received payment offers totaling $2,190,404, resulting in 43 payments totaling $599,428. This equates to an average payment of only $13,940.19 per Individual Economic Loss Claimant!
What is life worth?
According to BP and Feinberg, et al., the life of an individual BP oil spill victim wasn't worth very much. According to BP/PSC and Juneau, et al., the life of an individual BP oil spill victim is worth even less!
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