BP Oil Encourages Alabama Residents Not to Hire Attorneys

Saturday, May 1, BP held a “public information meeting” as the Gulf’s largest oil spill headed into the northern Gulf Coast.  BP held a town hall meeting and invited residents, fishermen and leaders of the south Alabama fishing town of Bayou La Batre – the same people that will economically damaged by the BP oil slick.

BP seized the opportunity to voice its anti-litigation strategy.  BP officials told the fishermen, business owners and local officials that it is unnecessary for them to hire their own attorneys.  Instead, BP officials said those claiming damages should call a BP 1-800 telephone number.  For claims under $5,000 dollars, BP would pay directly to those affected after signing BP paperwork (presumably releasing all future claims).  For those claiming damages over $5,000, BP will require those claims to be handled by their legal department.

Local town leaders upset by BP’s anti-lawyer statements, quickly took the microphone away from the BP official and informed those in attendance not to sign BP’s paperwork.  Why would BP’s high-dollar lawyers tell townspeople not to hire their own lawyer?  What is BP trying to hide?