Proposed 90-Day Window for BP Claim Payments Provides Insufficient Time for Damage Assessments, According to Legal Expert

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Feinberg's proposal requiring oil spill victims to sign release of claims within next three months fails to recognize long-term impacts of disaster not yet realized

The depth and amount of use of this product has never been seen before

A leading expert in personal injury litigation is calling on Kenneth Feinberg, the "Oil Spill Czar" who was appointed by President Obama to administer the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, to reconsider his proposal to terminate claim payments to victims of the BP oil spill 90 days after the capping of the underwater oil well.

Feinberg, who is overseeing claim payments from a $20 billion fund established by BP to compensate victims of the world's largest accidental oil spill, has proposed to open up the claims window for the next 90 days. Although the legal rights of victims who receive final compensation have been a subject of negotiations, under Feinberg's plan the victims who accept final payment from the fund can't seek additional compensation from BP in court.

"This proposal seems inadequate since even conservative estimates are that it will take years before the extent of the impact from this disaster is recognized," said Stephen Barnes, an experienced trial attorney at Cellino & Barnes, one of the nation's largest personal injury law firms. "In fact, several State Attorney Generals have already geared up to fight so that victims have sufficient time to bring valid claims, and that the victims' rights to seek justice in court are not taken away."

According to Barnes, one of the factors that may prolong the ability to measure the damages caused by the oil spill is that BP has been using a dispersant known as Corexit 9500 in an attempt to break up the oil deposited into the Gulf.

"The depth and amount of use of this product has never been seen before," said Barnes, whose law firm has established a team of attorneys focused on assisting residents of the Gulf Coast who have suffered economic damages or injuries as a result of the BP spill. "Some product evaluations of Corexit 9500 suggest that this dispersant may be even more toxic than crude oil. Although the EPA has instructed BP to use less toxic dispersants, it appears as though BP has continued to use Corexit 9500 and some reports also indicate that BP may also have utilized Corexit 9500 in far larger volumes and closer to shore than recommended."

Cellino & Barnes is a New York personal injury law firm, with offices in Manhattan, Rochester, Melville, Garden City (Long Island) and, Buffalo New York. Cellino & Barnes focuses strictly on personal injury cases, including auto accidents, medical malpractice, construction accidents, premises liability and more. For more information about Cellino & Barnes, please go to http://www.cellinoandbarnes.com or call 800.621.2020.

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Daryl Ciambella
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