From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

Gulf Oil Spill Conference

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Congrats to the folks at HB Litigation Conferences for a superbly organized and run conference in Atlanta this past week. For two days, a veritable who’s who of top litigators outlined the issues, the scope of the problem, and the direction all of this is headed.

I had the pleasure of going on the first day, right after Michael Rozen (law partner to Ken Feinberg, who will administer the $20 Billion fund) and right before Robert Kennedy, the famed environmental attorney. Rozen presented an indepth Q&A on what is known today about the Fund, which frankly isn’t all that much. Big questions loom on whether BP can or will attempt to use the fund to offset their remediation costs, and how claimants will be compensated for ongoing economic disruption which may not be fully knowable today. Kennedy’s luncheon address was more forward looking — really focused on the opportunities to get the world off of its dependency on carbon-based fuel.

Naturally, my own talk was focused on the economic and valuation questions — both what we need to do and how we will go about doing those things. As I noted, much of our scope of work over the coming months won’t be knowable until the MDL panel reaches its conclusions, hopefully before the end of July. However, much can already be done, and needs to be accomplished aggressively before a judge is appointed so that in the initial meetings, the litigants will be able to show the judge that the valuation questions are actually answerable.

From a purely practical perspective, we came away from the conference realizing that we were probably the only firm of our kind in the country capable of taking on this project. Apparently, most of the attorneys in the room seemed to aggre with that assessment. We will keep you posted as this case progresses.

Written by johnkilpatrick

June 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

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