For non-scientists, this massive oil
spill contains lots of intellectual complications. Apparently,
scientists are not doing a whole lot better. Neither are engineers.
Nor are lawyers.
A caller to our Caplis and Silverman
radio show ripped all attorneys
on our Wednesday show. He asked us to think about all the lawyers
involved on the government side of this Gulf problem. The Obamas;
Barack and Michelle. Holder. Salazar. Napolitano.
Dan Caplis and I are both lawyers.
Right after that call came several
enlightening segments with guest attorney
Brent Coon, who has successfully
sued BP before. Headquartered in Beaumont, Texas, and with lots
of other Gulf offices, Coon's big trial law firm will soon go after
British Petroleum again.
Who in our society is supposed to hold
big corporations and insurance companies accountable? Trial lawyers
do it every day with the aid of citizens -- citizen clients and citizen
juries. Now, the government is taking over the jobs of trial lawyers
and the insurance companies.
Where is the Rule of Law? Even
though we are both veteran lawyers, Brent Coon and I could not figure
out the how, why, where and when the President obtained the power to
broker and now take over the 20 billion dollar BP deal. Is it
a White House extralegal
shakedown? As with
AIG, the government becomes the corporate insurance company.
Who gets compensated? How much?
Pain and suffering? Property value loss? Who decides? The
White House? Does any kind of waiver need to be signed?
What happens if the government does something blatantly wrong in the
claims process? Can the government be sued or do they have their
usual governmental immunity?
And why is the White House now shutting
exploratory deep sea wells in the Gulf? How are people supposed
to make a living or drive to work? What did the competitors of
BP do wrong?
Didn't you say, Mr. President, that
In my law school, I learned that reckless is "a conscious
disregard of a substantial risk." If someone is driving 95 mph on
the highway and weaving in and out of traffic, and hits a bus and kills
a dozen, and then hits a gas tanker which spills, that conduct is reckless
and the driver is fully liable for the damages he caused.
We don't tell everybody else to stop
driving. Why does everybody else have to stop drilling?
Are all oil companies reckless? Is it because we now know there
is no way to stop it if and when a deepwater well spills?
Is it Interior's Minerals Management
Service the White House does not trust? Yeah, me neither.
Cabinet Secretary Ken Salazar said he was a new
sheriff in town at Interior
when he learned about the Bush-Cheney
era MMS crony capitalism/cocaine/porn practices. Salazar said
he said it was going to stop the MMS problems. He did not. Even www.moveon.org sees even more crony capitalism under Sheriff
breaks it down. Is
it the government the White House does not trust in the Gulf?
anybody? Are caribou more
valuable than pelicans, dolphins and turtles? And people?
Or have we come to realize that oil is bad on every level? This
White House wants to stop ANWR in Alaska and Anwar al-Awlaki in
the Arabian peninsula.
Meanwhile, the government needs to stop the hemorrhaging in this latest