On June 17, when Obama “informed” BP how much money it would have to set aside in a claims fund, I cautioned as follows:

If the Constitution means nothing to you, and all you want is retribution, you will be left very unsatisfied.

The claims procedures apparently have not yet been worked out in detail. But if the 9/11 claims process is any indication, the process will not be fast. And claimants will be limited to compensation for economic losses, which will require that individuals give up whatever other claims they may have.

End result is that I would be surprised to see much money put in anyone’s hands this calendar year.

Yesterday it was reported (h/t @MichelleMalkin) as follows:

Gulf compensation chief retreats from promises to speed claims process 

Just over two weeks ago, Kenneth Feinberg took over the process for handling damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, pledging to cut down the response time from BP’s widely criticized system to two days for individuals and seven days for businesses that file fully documented claims.

After a rocky start in which claimants have reported chronic delays and confusion, Feinberg is now retreating from his targets and acknowledging that the process will take longer than he had pledged.

The money handed out so far has been relatively small, as reported by ProPublica.

As I made clear in my prior posts, the claims process as initiated by BP and now controlled by Feinberg may be right for many people because it is faster than court.  But the relative speed comes at the cost of having to opt out of the court process without necessarily understanding one’s rights and long-term damages, and submitting to the near-absolute discretion of the claims administrator.

Related Posts:
How’s That BP Oil Spill Fund Going?
The Bully’s Pulpit

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