Contact: Ray De Lorenzi
202-965-3500 ext. 8369
AAJ Response to NY Times Magazine Story on BP
The following is a statement from American Association for Justice President Gibson Vance, in response to the New York Times Magazine story “Cleaning Up: The New Model” by Douglas McCollam:
“The New York Times Magazine story on the BP / Gulf Coast recovery features a trial attorney who is not a member of AAJ nor represents the views of the trial bar.
“Trial attorneys are committed to helping small businesses and residents affected by the oil spill get justice, whether it is through the traditional legal system or the fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg. We can say with the utmost certainty that BP does not share this same commitment. BP – not trial attorneys – ignored safety standards, killed 11 rig workers, polluted the Gulf, and ruined the livelihoods of thousands of Americans. Only trial attorneys can hold them accountable.
“Mr. Feinberg has rightfully said that trial attorneys will ‘play a very valuable role’ to ensure the BP fund is a suitable option for claimants. AAJ has worked closely with him before; the 9/11 fund was successful largely due to our efforts representing affected families.
“Though not included in this story, Mr. Feinberg just last week praised the U.S. legal system while refuting the idea that the 9/11 or BP fund should serve as a model for other situations. Ironically, he made the comments at an event sponsored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to maligning trial attorneys and the civil justice system.
“In light of the oil spill, the Wall Street meltdown, and other recent corporate scandals, the American people understand the importance of the civil justice system more than ever. Our mission – to fight on their behalf – is unwavering.”