In todays Speaking of Justice we call again on noted mass tort and environmental attorney Frederick "Rick" Kuykendall to discuss the recently announced $20 billion BP Oil Spill damage fund. This fund, established through negotiations from the Obama White House is unprecedented in US legal history as a private fund created to specifically compensate injured individuals and businesses in the Gulf Coast region.
Rick Kuykendall is uniquely qualified to discuss this case and is a member of the Gulf Coast Litigation Group that is a partnership of some of the leading lawyers from Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. In today's three part conversation, we first look at how this was set up, the appointment of Kenneth Feinberg to act as special master or trustee and the impact of this fund on pending and potential litigation in the states, counties and cities of the impacted Gulf Coast region.
The unprecedented scope of this disaster, coupled with the potential size of this case, called for bold and creative thinking as opposed to the legal feeding frenzy we have been witnessing over the last six weeks. While the legal issues related to the BP Oil Spill litigation will continue to be refined and defined over the coming months, there is little question that the creation of the Oil Spill Damage fund is a major event in US legal history and is going to be followed closely on LBN.
Watch for part two of this interview later today featuring Attorney Tom Bilek of the Bilek firm in Houston, TX in which he covers his arguements in court today in New Orleans on the issue of protecting workers who are assisting in the oil clean up.
Also, part three of this discussion will cover today's hearing on Capital Hill with BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward and the statements by several law makers who refer to the fund as " A shakedown" and distortion of the US legal system.