BP Compensation Fund May Shield Company from Litigation

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Individuals and businesses seeking a lump-sum settlement from the $20 billion fund created by BP (BP) to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill will likely have to waive their right to sue BP, as well as other major defendants involved in the disaster, The New York Times reported, citing internal documents from lawyers handling the fund.

Those seeking compensation will be faced with a tough choice, The New York Times said. Either they can pass on a settlement and face years of litigation, or they can agree to accept a settlement, which could come before the full extent of the damage from the spill is known.

The fund is being administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg, a prominent Washington lawyer who also oversaw the compensation of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Unlike the 9/11 fund, geographic proximity to the disaster itself will be a key criterion when assessing eligibility. So a golf course along the highway to the beach, for example, may find it harder to get compensation than a restaurant located on the shore, even though both were negatively impacted by the oil spill.

Feinberg declines to comment on the documents, but verified their authenticity.
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