BP is using "coercive tactics" to force victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to agree to final settlements with its claims fund, lawyers suing the company said.
BP set up the $20 billion (Dh73.46 billion) Gulf Coast Claims Facility to pay emergency, interim and final payments to the victims under the provisions of the US Oil Pollution Act. Lawyers for property owners, businesses and others claiming harm say victims have been forced to sign releases for inadequate payments because they could no longer afford to wait for full compensation.
A federal judge should appoint a special master to oversee the process, the lawyers said in papers filed in federal court in New Orleans. They also asked US District Judge Carl Barbier, who is overseeing the litigation, to "suspend the effectiveness" of any releases signed by spill victims who received money from the fund.
"BP has failed to comply with the letter and spirit of OPA, a law designed to provide an interim claims process," according to the filing.
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"The GCCF will respond to the filing in due course," Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP fund, said in an email.