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US judge: oil claims official not independent of BP

The administrator of BP's $20 billion oil spill compensation fund has been influenced by the British oil giant and must stop telling victims he is independent, a US federal judge said. US District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans ordered BP to refrain from referring to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) -- a fund set up by the oil firm at the White House's urging -- or its administrator Ken Feinberg as independent. The firm must also inform those filing claims for compensation from the disastrous spill that they have the right to consult with an attorney of their choice and can join some of the hundreds of lawsuits pending against BP if they do not accept a final payment, according to the ruling.... Barbier wrote..."While BP may have delegated to Mr Feinberg and the GCCF independence in the evaluation and payment of individual claims, many other facts support a finding that the GCCF and Mr Feinberg are not completely 'neutral' or independent from BP."

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US Deepwater Horizon explosion & oil spill lawsuits

USA: Judge overseeing Gulf oil spill lawsuits orders claims fund head Ken Feinberg to stop saying he is independent of BP