Non-PSC attorneys feel left out of Deepwater Horizon settlement process
|October 30, 2014, 10:02 am|
|NEW ORLEANS – A group of about 100 attorneys and accountants
frustrated by the slow claims process in the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill case met in a downtown New Orleans hotel Monday to discuss how to
jumpstart what appears to have become a hopelessly stalled process.|
The meeting was coordinated by Brent Coon & Associates (BCA), a Beaumont, Texas law firm that represents 5,000 claimants. It was attended mainly by representatives of law firms who are not members of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC) – the group of lawyers who brokered the massive settlement that arose from the BP oil spill in 2010.
Some plaintiff attorneys say the settlement, beset by allegations of fraud and mismanagement, has become unworkable for those claimants who are not represented by PSC lawyers. The PSC firms, which stand to split a collective $660 million fee for overseeing the settlement, have been accused by some non-PSC lawyers of manipulating the claims process for their own benefit.
While Coon and the others gathered at the meeting were vocal critics of BP for doing its own part to stall the claims process, rifts are appearing within the trial attorneys ranks. Several attorneys on hand for the meeting complained that the PSC firms – which are sworn to represent the rights of all claimants – have disregarded their complaints that the settlement process is at a virtual standstill.
“Our steering committee has not done a very effective job communicating those concerns, either back to the court or back to the claimants,’’ Coon said. “[Our claimants] have no reasonable expectation of getting paid anytime soon; it may be years.’’
Read more about Brent Coon and the BP Oil Spill