The man in charge of doling out the $20B BP settlement money is a sly, slick S.O.B., so anyone who will be filing a claim against BP better have a lawyer with him. Below is a little history on Mr. Feinberg:
H/T to American Zombie for a link to this article detailing Feinberg's past as a man willing to manipulate anyone suing large corporations into settling for less than what is their due. From the above link:
Feinberg learned his expertise way back in the Agent Orange litigation:
Federal court judge Jack Weinstein was seeking to impose a settlement on thousands of such cases brought by veterans against the companies that made Agent Orange – the dioxin-laced herbicide used in Vietnam.
Weinstein even had a settlement figure in mind – $180 million – half of what the chemical companies were willing to settle for.
He brought in Feinberg to “do his dirty work,”
Weinstein’s mission was to limit the liability of the defendants,” according to public interest attorney Rob Hager. “That’s very clear.”
“Weinstein felt that lawyers would be encouraged to bring more toxic tort cases into the federal courts if the Agent Orange litigation were successful.”
“The Second Circuit Court of Appeals called the $180 million settlement a nuisance value settlement.”
“And Weinstein wanted to make sure that the settlement amount was viewed as a nuisance value settlement.”
“He didn’t want it to go up to what the defendants were willing to pay – which was at least double – $360 million – or even much more if Weinstein had actually allowed the case to go before a jury.”
“That number would just keep going up.”
“Agent Orange victims could have obtained the largest recovery in American history because of the number of veterans involved, the bad actions of the defendants in covering up the fact that their product had dioxin in it, and the predictably favorable attitude of juries toward the claimants.”
“So, it was looking to be a major historic case. And Weinstein put a lid on it and kept a lid on it, saving Dow, Monsanto and the other chemical companies from potential bankruptcy.”
“And Feinberg helped him do that.”
“More important for our purposes, Feinberg learned at the knee of the master how to do this – how to keep the companies off the hook of liability for massive tort.”