How fucking evil is that? Thousands or more people have had their livelihoods (and possibly their children's) laid waste by BP and their greed. And BP is running around the Gulf Coast trying to get people to sign away their right to sue for $5,000 cash money.
Wonder if they'll resurrect Tessio, and have him tell everyone "It was just business, it was nothing personal" next.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King said tonight that he has told representatives of BP Plc. that they should stop circulating settlement agreements among coastal Alabamians.
The agreements, King said, essentially require that people give up the right to sue in exchange for payment of up to $5,000.
King said BP's efforts were particularly strong in Bayou La Batre.
The attorney general said he is prohibited from giving legal advice to private citizens, but added that "people need to proceed with caution and understand the ramifications before signing something like that.
"They should seek appropriate counsel to make sure their rights are protected," King said.
By the end of Sunday, BP aimed to sign up 500 fishing boats in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to deploy boom.
BP had distributed a contract to fishermen it was hiring that waived their right to sue BP and required confidentiality and other items, sparking protests in Louisiana and elsewhere.
I always say: don't for a second think they've gone as low as they can go, because they'll prove you wrong. This is yet another example.
In the comments, kossack StepLeftStepForward has good info from a townhall held by the mayor of the little town mentioned above:
At the Bayou La Batre meeting yesterday, BP told the fishermen, business owners and local officials that they didn’t need to hire lawyer. They simply can call the BP 1-800 telephone number and claim total damages for themselves and their businesses of up to $5,000. The damaged individuals and businesses would be required to sign BP paperwork, company officials said. If their claim turned out to be more than $5,000, people were told they would be required to deal directly with BP’s legal department.
Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright told the hundreds that packed the community center, "Let me say this as your friend. If you take one penny from BP make sure you don’t sign a release form.
"If you take a dollar from them and they may you sign a release," Mayor Wright warned, "and if this thing last ten years, you can forget about it."
He received applause when he told the fishermen to work through their trade associations and "don’t work through BP."
Gotta love BP, trying to talk people out of getting a lawyer.
Pro tip: if someone is trying to talk you out of getting a lawyer, you should probably get a lawyer.
BP: Go fuck yourselves.
From the comments, kossack BDA in VA points us back to the original article I linked, since they updated it with BP response:
Darren Beaudo, a spokesman for BP, said the waiver requirement had been stripped out, and that ones already signed would not be enforced.
"BP will not enforce any waivers that have been signed in connection with this activity," he wrote in an e-mail.
But King said late Sunday that he was still concerned that people would lose their right to sue by accepting settlements from BP of up to $5,000, as envisioned by the claim process BP has set up.
The attorney general said he is prohibited from giving legal advice to private citizens, but added that "people need to proceed with caution and understand the ramifications before signing something like that."
"To the best of my knowledge BP did not ask residents of Alabama to waive their legal rights in the way that has been described," Beaudo said.
Obviously I have no reason to believe that this diary or the great response it received (thanks!) had any role to play in BP's 180-degree flip. It sure couldn't hurt though! :)
And what's with the odd "it never happened" Jedi mind-trick lie at the very end?
***UPDATE 2.5 (CAUGHT!)***
I guess that answers the questions about BP's change of heart. Good job, Secretary Napolitano. And I would guess BP's strange lie-denial that it never happened is likely to cover their asses from being sued over that.
Napolitano also said she would investigate reports that local residents working on cleanup efforts are being required to sign waivers limiting liability in case of injury, or confidentiality agreements. "I'm looking into that right now. I was just alerted to that," Napolitano said. "And if that, in fact, is the case, that is a practice we want stopped immediately."