Joint Committees Schedule Community Meeting: An Opportunity to be Heard

Famed activist, Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” Right now, concerned citizens are waiting anxiously for answers to the future of the Gulf Coast, which depends in large part upon the present day decisions regarding BP’s ultimate financial liability.

 Significantly, in March, BP agreed to pay an amount that is estimated at $7.8 billion in order to pay the majority of private plaintiffs’ claims for property damage, economic loss, and oil spill and cleanup related injuries. Additionally, two distinct classes were created in the settlement, including one for economic loss and the other for physical injuries related to the spill or the cleanup process.

Notably, the settlement has been proclaimed as a just and fair amount. In fact, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who has been overseeing the oil spill litigation, observed after granting preliminary approval of the settlement agreement, that the proposed settlement is “fair, reasonable, adequate, entered in good faith, free of collusion, and within the range of possible judicial approval.” However, many residents are still unsure as to how this money will be specifically distributed and how it may impact the already submitted (and unsatisfied) claims. These questions have, for the most part, remained unexplained or answered. Thus, a meeting has been planned to address these unanswered questions, concerns, and frustrations of Gulf Coast residents.

 The meeting has been scheduled for August 3, 2012, with the objective to “receive comments from the Attorney General’s office on the claims process and the state’s interest, and to receive public input.”(State of Louisiana Notice of Joint Committee Meeting). Thus, the voices of Gulf Coast residents will be heard by both the House Select Committee on Oversight of the Deepwater Horizon Claims and the Senate Select Committee on Oversight of the Deepwater Horizon Claims, at the Louisiana Multiplex Center, located in Grand Isle, Louisiana. This is a golden opportunity for Gulf Coast residents to discuss their concerns with the Committees, allowing residents to describe issues they feel demand attention. In particular, the discussion will be open to issues regarding the claims process, how it has (or has not) been working, as well as any concerns they may have regarding the settlement with BP. Significantly, many residents and businesses alike have expressed serious reservations already with the claims process; especially in regards to the amount of “red tape” they have had to struggle with, causing the claims process to become a paperwork labyrinth.

 It is of special significance that the meeting will take place in Grand Isle, Louisiana, which is the area that was the epicenter of the United States worst offshore oil spill over two years ago, and will now be the epicenter for the exchange of ideas and thoughts for this monumental task of making injured individuals and businesses whole again.

 Importantly, if you have been damaged as a result of the BP oil spill, please contact the Jones Swanson Law Firm and ask for Lisa Rodriguez at (504) 523-2500. More information about Jones Swanson’s work on behalf of its clients damaged by the BP oil spill is also available at www.BPvictims.com.

 Meeting Information:

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Date:  August 3, 2012

Place:  The Louisiana Multiplex Center

            3101 La. Highway 1

            Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Emotions run high in Grand Isle, Louisiana during the BP oil spill. Photo taken June 15, 2010, by Callie Casstevens