The environmental section is working tirelessly on behalf of folks throughout the Gulf Coast who are hurting as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The spill, which is considered the largest environmental disaster in United States history, released over 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig last year when an explosion rocked the vessel and sent it to the bottom of the ocean. BP, Plc. was the majority owner of the well and was the operator of the rig. Transocean owned the rig and provided workers aboard it. Halliburton was responsible for the cementing at the well head – a very complex and critical procedure that some say may have been initial cause of the “blowout” explosion. Cameron owned the blowout preventer (BOP) device that was to prevent a blowout from ever occurring. Obviously, it did not work and there is some talk that the device may have been defective.
After the spill, the wrongdoers tried to cover up their massive problem by dumping thousands, if not millions, of gallons of toxic dispersant. We believe that it will come out later that those efforts made what was already a horrible situation even worse. The impact from the spill has been enormous – fishermen, seafood processors, seafood wholesalers, hotels, condo owners, realtors, restaurants, waiters, marinas, local and state governments, and a host of other businesses that either reside on or make their living off the Gulf Coast have been injured. All the while, folks that volunteered to clean up the spill and residents living along the Gulf Coast have suffered health issues due to the dangerous toxins associated with chemical dispersants and oil.
Making matters worse, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was set up as BP’s agent to settle claims, has been far from transparent and fair with folks. What was promised as a simple and quick process for payment has turned into a drawn out and overly complicated claims process. The GCCF is requesting and delaying too many claims on account of information it either doesn’t need or already has in other forms. Instead of providing legitimate offers to these desperate businesses, the GCCF is essentially denying their claims while offering small quick payments to settle all claims against all oil spill Defendants. We also learned this week that the GCCF had selected judges for reviewing GCCF claim appeals exceeding $250,000 or where claims have precedential effect. It does not appear claimants will even have a chance to argue for their claims in front of these panels. Unfortunately, good folks throughout the Gulf Coast have been relegated to beggars as opposed to claimants. This is no surprise though – the GCCF is working for BP.
Our firm has filed lawsuits for hundreds of clients, and is aggressively pursuing justice for our clients on multiple fronts – including litigation and the GCCF. Rhon Jones, a steering committee member, along with several of our lawyers in his section, is working hard in the MDL. As we have reported, the oil spill multi-district litigation in Louisiana is moving at a rapid pace towards a limitation of liability trial in February. At that trial, we will learn everything about what was going on aboard the Deepwater Horizon, and who is responsible for causing the disaster. Recently, BP and the other Defendants tried to dismiss all of the Plaintiffs’ claims on a legal technicality. Ironically, BP’s multi-million dollar advertising campaign about “making it right” doesn’t extend to the courthouse where desperate claimants are seeking compensation.
To better serve the needs of our clients, we have divided our lawyers into teams based on the type of client and claim. All of our lawyers have done an outstanding job handling some very significant litigation, but their work is far from over. Our goal is to obtain the very best recovery possible for each of our clients.
For any questions you may have regarding governmental entities, contact David Byrne at David.Byrne@beasleyallen.com, Rick Stratton at Rick.Stratton@beasleyallen.com, Stephanie Emens at Stephanie.Emans@beasleyallen.com, Heidi Dunn at Heidi.Dunn@beasleyallen.com, or Mitch Dobbs at Mitch.Dobbs@beasleyallen.com.
For any questions you may have regarding condo, realtor or property claims, contact Chris Boutwell at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com, Chris Colee at Chris.Colee@beasleyallen.com, or Luke Bentley at Luke.Bentley@beasleyallen.com.
For any questions you may have regarding seafood processing companies, seafood wholesale companies, hotels, wedding companies, salons, loss of wage claims and theme parks, contact John Tomlinson at John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com, Will Sutton at Will.Sutton@beasleyallen.com, John Thomas at John.Thomas@beasleyallen.com, or Bea Sellers at Bea.Sellers@beasleyallen.com.
For any questions you may have regarding commercial and charter fishing businesses, deckhands, marinas, VOO contract disputes, and personal injury associated with the oil spill, contact Parker Miller at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com, Grant Cofer at Grant.Cofer@beasleyallen.com, or Kyle Shirley at Kyle.Shirley@beasleyallen.com.
For any questions you may have about restaurants, the construction industry, convenience stores, grocery stores and recreational parks, contact Rick Stratton at Rick.Stratton@beasleyallen.com, Chris Cleckley at Chris.Cleckley@beasleyallen.com, or Josh Jones at Josh.Jones@beasleyallen.com.
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