Q. Is this a final resolution for victims?
For anyone affected by the oil spill that chooses to participate in the settlement, yes, this will be a final resolution. In order to recover under the settlement, a claimant must sign a full and final release and will not be able to pursue BP.
Q. Is the settlement mandatory for plaintiffs?
No. This settlement is not mandatory, though people and businesses that do not want to participate in the agreement must opt out before October 1, 2012. If a member of the class fails to opt out by that time, they will waive their right to opt out at a later date.
Q. When will the settlement receive final court approval? Do you anticipate any challenges?
Judge Barbier will consider final approval of the settlement in November 2012. While we expect approval to come shortly after the hearing on the subject, we also expect a number of challenges to come from a number of sources. Because this settlement gives any potential claimant the option of pursuing recovery outside of the settlement, the PSC expects full approval to come from Judge Barbier.
Q. Where can people go to file a claim or to get more information on the terms of the settlement?
A claimant may file a claim online, through the mail, or in person at a claims facility close to them. All information is available at www.deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com or by calling 1-866-992-6174.
Q. Who are the beneficiaries of these settlements?
The victims of the spill who suffered damages.
Q. What is the benefit of class action lawsuits?
To allow numerous victims to recover without having to actively pursue the claim so as to make the responsible party accountable for its acts.
Q. What are some of the challenges of a class action suit?
Gathering and organizing millions of documents. Taking hundreds of depositions and organizing billions in damage assessment evidence.
Q. What do you hope oil companies will learn from this?
Hopefully this multibillion dollar settlement will remind the oil companies that deep ocean drilling is an extremely dangerous activity that puts peoples lives, health, businesses, work, the eco system and our precious environment at risk. Deepwater drilling must be done correctly and safely or not at all.
This must never happen again.
On a more personal note:
Q. What was your first job?
I worked as a bag boy and stock man at Winn Dixie while in High School at LaSalle high.
Q. What advice would you give to todays law students?
Find and pursue your passion.
Q. Whats the last book you read.
The last Boy, a biography about Mickey Mantle