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APNewsBreak: U.S. Opposes Ruling on Lawyer Fees

By: Cain Burdeau, Associated Press
By: Cain Burdeau, Associated Press

Attorney General Pam Bondi Challenges Plan to Take Millions from Oil Spill Claimants

Tallahassee, FL -- January 13, 2012 --

Attorney General Pam Bondi yesterday filed a brief in the
multi-district oil spill proceedings in New Orleans challenging a plan to
take hundreds of millions of dollars from the individual and business
claimants who have decided to pursue non-litigation recoveries through the
claims process required by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

"Individuals and businesses that suffered financial losses due to the oil
spill deserve to receive fair compensation as quickly as possible, and that
compensation should not be reduced due to the overreaching demands of
Plaintiffs’ lawyers who have done nothing to help them. I have asked the
Court to ensure that claimants receive the full compensation that they
deserve,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Without holding a hearing, the Court issued an order on Dec. 28 that
established a "reserve" account at the request of the Plaintiffs' Steering
Committee. As part of this order, the Court directed that an amount
equivalent to six percent of any payments made on or after Nov. 7, 2011,
which was later amended to Dec. 31, 2011, be withheld from claimants who
settle directly with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility as a source of
potential funding for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. Those funds
would remain in the Court registry pending the resolution of the case and
any request for common benefit fees.

To read the brief, please follow this hyperlink:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MMFD-8QGR67/$file/11312statementofinterest.pdf

For more information regarding Attorney General Pam Bondi’s response to the
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, please click here:

http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/24D0D3377FA1B42D8525791B006A54F6

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APNewsBreak: U.S. Opposes Ruling on Lawyer Fees

New Orleans, LA (AP) - The Justice Department says a federal judge's ruling awarding hefty fees for plaintiffs' lawyers fighting BP over its massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill discourages people from settling claims with the oil giant outside the courtroom.

In a court filing Thursday, the Justice Department opposed U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's decision to set aside up to 6 percent of claims payments after Dec. 30 for trial lawyers affiliated with a steering committee helping plaintiffs with oil spill litigation against BP PLC.

The question of lawyers' fees is contentious. Louisiana's attorney general and lawyers working to settle clients' claims outside of court claim Barbier's fee structure unfairly rewards trial lawyers.

The Justice Department contends the ruling goes against the intent of the Oil Pollution Act and discourages people from settling.


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