The prominent US lawyer managing BP’s 20-billion-dollar oil disaster fund said Wednesday not all claimants will be paid, especially some of those seeking compensation for falling houses prices.
“There’s not enough money in the world to pay every single small business that claims injury no matter where or when,” Kenneth Feinberg told the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business.
“You’ve got to decide in a principled way… and work out some definition in that regard,” he said, while stating his determination to “pay every eligible claim.”
“I use that famous example of a restaurant in Boston that says, ‘I can’t get shrimp from Louisiana, and my menu suffers and my business is off.’” Well, no law is going to recognize that claim.”
In another example, Feinberg said the fund was not meant to pay out to all home owners whose properties had declined in value.
“There’s no question that the property value has diminished as a result of the spill. That doesn’t mean that every property is entitled to compensation,” he said, adding: “There’s not enough money in the world to pay everybody who’d like to have money.”
Feinberg, who also headed a compensation fund for victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, was tapped by President Barack Obama to administer the 20-billion-dollar fund established by BP earlier this month.
He assured lawmakers it would be “totally independent” and said BP “has agreed to supplement this escrow fund as needed to assure full and fair compensation to all individuals and businesses that are found to be eligible for payment.”
“I’m inclined to begin with the same analysis I did in 9/11,” added the leading attorney, who plans to set up procedures for paying claims in the coming weeks.