For months, lawyers suing BP have fumed as Kenneth R. Feinberg, the administrator of the $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill, has encouraged people to seek relief from the fund instead of through the courts.
On Tuesday, they asked a federal judge in New Orleans to order Mr. Feinberg to be more even-handed when he talked to people who considered themselves victims of the spill, and to tell them about the potential rewards of suing the company.
Plaintiffs' lawyers have been upset by Mr. Feinberg's comments like those to the New Orleans Times Picayune in September: "Why litigate? Why flood the federal and state courts of Louisiana? You'll litigate for years. You'll be paying all sorts of expenses. Who says you'll win? If I won't pay you, I urge, no one will pay you."
In the filing and memorandum submitted to Judge Carl J. Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana, who oversees the consolidated federal lawsuits concerning the spill, the plaintiff's lawyers argued that Mr. Feinberg should be telling potential litigants that, if they go to court, they might be able to win punitive damages, lawyer fees and the opportunity to sue others involved in the spill.
Read the complete New York Times story, "Comments by Overseer of BP Fund Irk Lawyers."