Co-Lead Counsel Responds To NY Times Columnist’s Critique Of BP Settlement
To the Editor:
Re “Sympathy for the Devil,” by Joe Nocera (column, Aug. 2):
Joe Nocera unfairly characterizes the settlement BP reached after its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In order to treat all claimants equally and fairly, the settlement agreement — which BP for more than a year negotiated, co-authored, agreed to and sought court approval of — mandates the use of transparent, objective formulas to determine eligibility and compensation.
We take umbrage at Mr. Nocera’s description of certain claims as “bogus.” These are claims that the claims administrator, the district court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and even BP have all agreed are compensable under the terms of the settlement. As Judge Leslie H. Southwick of the Fifth Circuit wrote, “There is nothing fundamentally unreasonable about what BP accepted but now wishes it had not.”
The answer to the question that Mr. Nocera poses in his column — “What does it mean for a company ‘to do the right thing’ after an industrial accident?” — is simple: Honor your word. Abide by your contract. Do not break your promise to the entire Gulf region whose economy you devastated.
STEPHEN J. HERMAN
JAMES P. ROY
Plaintiffs Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the BP/Deepwater Horizon litigation.
New Orleans, Aug. 5, 2014