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海湾石油困境:从接受索赔或者控告?

迈阿密( 美联社 ) --当海湾油溢出之后,阿拉巴马州海产市场所有者大卫斯考特面临着困难的决定,他正试图使自己的生意恢复: 他可以接受英国石油公司的20十亿美元的索赔基金的一部分——这是相对地快速,容易得来的钱财,或者控告石油巨头获得更多的赔偿,这会等待多年,有最后一无所获的风险。

许多企业主,渔民和其他墨西哥湾岸区沿岸的人都面临着相同的困境。 这些人接受来自受害者补偿基金的检查他们的长期损失,就不得不放弃控告英国石油公司的权利。

在蒙哥马利郡和阿拉巴马的德斯坦经营海鲜市场的斯考特,说这生意与一年之前的5、6月相比下降超过49,000美元。 他说他仍然考虑权衡其选择并等待看看英国石油公司愿意提供什么价格。

他说,“这时候,我们应给英国石油公司一个机会,看他们说些什么,他们将要做什么。 我能证明我的损失。 销售下降的很多,我不能得到我需要的,人们也不再来我这里购买”。

其他人害怕经济受打击的范围可能会持续几年,使其难以算出现在商谈的补偿是否能弥补其整个亏损。

在路易斯安那的渔夫商业联合协会主席乔治巴亚瑞氏说“虾以后会回来吗?牡蛎以后还能在此生存吗?我们这里还会有市场吗?。 一起解决--如果它是合适的,我应该接受它? 我应该等待它吗? 此刻这在每个人的头脑中徘徊。 现在另一个未知的促使每个人失眠”。

此刻,英国石油公司补偿资金为了他们短期损失支付给企业和个体,而那些接受这样临时的检查没有签署放弃他们的权力控告。 但是,在十一月二十三日之后开始,和继续三年,基金会赔偿受害者长期的损失。

运转基金在英国石油公司和奥巴马政府之间的代理人肯尼思费恩贝尔格,在最近的一次采访中说这些需要长期索赔的人需要提供他们潜在的支出,公司才能决定是否会接受进行赔偿。 如果他们不接受它,他们可以控告。

费恩贝尔格说,“我认为如果你提出诉讼,我合格的定义将实际上证明超过更广阔。 但是我可能是不对,以及如果当事人需要提出诉讼,他们能提出诉讼”。

费恩贝尔格还没有对申请长期补偿设置截止日期。 汇集整理诉讼的截止日期变化依赖于情况和权限的类型,但是通常人们会在一年到六年之间针对疏忽行为控告英国石油公司和其他涉及灾难的公司。

有多少预期得到长期损失赔偿的人是谁都拿不准的。 当时星期三下午,超过51,000个临时索赔被提交,包括例如损失收入的超过44,000。 在总数中,10,252个索偿已经被支付,总数将近80百万美元。

此外,已经有超过300诉讼申请。 但是,如果他们决定从补偿资金接受补偿,那些原告就能撤退他们的诉讼。

长期赔付定位的资格规定没有如预期像临时索偿的范围一样的广泛: 你离漏油的位置越近,以及你依赖于墨西哥湾岸区的自然资源越更多时,你将有机会得到的更多。

费恩贝尔格说他也可能阻拦收件人不仅控告英国石油公司还有其他公司,例如跨洋货运和哈利伯顿。

佛罗里达餐馆和住宿协会,这代表许多的佛罗里达$57十亿的酒店业,协会联合其成员让三家法律公司帮助其选择索偿还是诉讼。 协会的主席卡罗多佛说,数十个临时索偿要求已拒绝或者被减少到“美元本位制上的便士”因为这些企业远离溢出地点。

费恩贝尔格说他的目标是管理英国石油公司的基金去补偿那些受害者的损失,不是惩罚英国石油公司。 相比之下,保留控诉预期是一个大的惩罚性的损害的结论。

但是,惩罚性赔偿判决经常需要几年去解决,可能会降低诉求金额。 1989年艾克森石油公司瓦尔迪兹石油在阿拉斯加州涌出事件引起20年的法律裁定,其从最初的5十亿美元的惩罚性赔偿裁定削减到大约500百万美元。

在洛杉矶的斯莱德尔螃蟹加工厂的所有者盖理鲍尔说一个合理的理赔将会难以满足大多数。

他说,“如果你去诉讼,啊上帝,你的生活,你的收入都将暂停。 每个人知道它将花费六,八年”。


 
Gulf oil dilemma: accept payout from BP or sue?

MIAMI (AP) -- Alabama seafood market owner David Scott faces a difficult decision as he tries to rejuvenate his business after the Gulf oil spill: He can accept a piece of BP's $20 billion claims fund -- relatively fast, easy money -- or sue the oil giant for a bigger payday, wait years and risk ending up with nothing.

Thousands of business owners, fishermen and others along the Gulf Coast are confronting a similar conundrum. Those who accept a check for their long-term losses from the victims' compensation fund will have to give up their right to sue BP PLC.

Scott, who runs Destin Connections Seafood Market in Montgomery, Ala., said business was off more than $49,000 in May and June compared with the year before. He said he is still weighing his options and waiting to see what BP is willing to offer.

"At this point, we've got to give BP a chance to do what they said they were going to do," he said. "I can prove my loss. Sales were just way off, and I couldn't get what I needed, and people weren't coming in to buy either."

Others fear that it could take years for the extent of the economic blow to be known, making it difficult to figure out whether a payout negotiated now will make them whole.

"Is the shrimp going to come back? Are the oysters going to survive? Are we going to have a market?" asked George Barisich, head of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association in Louisiana. "One lump settlement -- should I take it if it's decent? Should I wait it out? It's on the back of everyone's minds right now. It's another one of the unknowns that's driving everyone sleepless right now."

Right now, the BP compensation fund is paying businesses and individuals for their short-term losses, and those accepting such interim checks do not have to sign away their right to sue. But starting sometime after Nov. 23, and continuing for three years, the fund will compensate victims for long-term losses.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is running the fund under a deal between BP and the Obama administration, said in a recent interview that those who file a long-term claim will get a preview of their potential payout before they have to decide whether to accept it. If they don't like it, they can sue.

"I think that my definition of eligibility will actually prove to be broader than if you litigate," Feinberg said. "But I might be wrong, and if parties want to litigate, they can litigate."

Feinberg has yet to set a deadline for applying for long-term compensation. Deadlines for filing lawsuits vary depending on the type of case and jurisdiction, but in general people would have between one and six years to file a negligence action against BP and other companies involved in the disaster.

How many are expected to file claims for long-term losses is anyone's guess. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 51,000 interim claims had been submitted, including more than 44,000 for lost earnings. Of the total, 10,252 claims had been paid, for a total of almost $80 million.

In addition, more than 300 lawsuits have been filed. But those plaintiffs can withdraw their lawsuits if they decide to accept a payout from the compensation fund.

The eligibility rules for the long-term settlements have not been set but are widely expected to be similar to those for the interim claims: The nearer you are geographically to the oil spill and the more closely you depend on the Gulf's natural resources, the better chance you have of getting a share.

Feinberg said he may also bar recipients from suing not just BP but other companies, such as Transocean and Halliburton.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, which represents much of Florida's $57 billion hospitality industry, is connecting its members to three law firms to help them choose between a claim or a lawsuit. The association's president, Carol Dover, said dozens of interim claims have been rejected or reduced to "pennies on the dollar" because the businesses are far from the spill site.

Feinberg said his goal in administering the BP fund is to compensate victims for their losses, not punish BP. In contrast, suing holds the prospect of a big punitive damage verdict.

But punitive damage awards often take years to resolve and can be cut down on appeal. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska spawned a two-decade legal fight during which an initial $5 billion punitive damage award was whittled to about $500 million.

Gary Bauer, owner of crab processor Ponchartrain Blues in Slidell, La., said a fair claim settlement will be hard to turn down for many.

"If you go to litigation, oh God, your life is on hold, your income's on hold. Everyone knows it is going to take six, eight years," he said.

 


 

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