Monday, August 23, 2010

Comparing the 9/11 Fund and the Oil Spill Fund

Michael Cooper has an article in the NYTimes about the two entitled "Spill Fund May Prove as Challenging as 9/11 Payments."

Richard Nagareda (Vanderbilt) is quoted as saying: "Although he had a very difficult time placing a dollar value on human life, in some way that was a more straightforward job than estimating the long-term harm to a shrimper’s business." 

In both cases, I think, you have a situation where Feinberg is asked to monetize things that are very hard to monetize and about which people have strong and conflicting opinions - but that is what our tort system asks juries to do all the time.  I've recently written on this issue in a piece called "Rough Justice" - an earlier draft is available on SSRN and I plan to post a revision soon.

The NYT article also raises the prospect of fraudulent claims.  The 9/11 Fund was manageable in this regard because, as the paper quotes Feinberg “You’ve got verification of death."


9/11, Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Mass Disasters, Settlement | Permalink

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