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When Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010, millions of gallons of oil seeped into the Gulf of Mexico, creating the largest manmade catastrophe since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The spill also set in motion events the claim industry had not previously navigated. President Obama stepped in, advising BP to hire a third-party administrator (TPA). President Obama then appointed Ken Feinberg as head of the $20 billion BP oil spill compensation fund.

The Paymaster Revealed

So just who is Ken Feinberg? Best known for heading the $7 billion September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, Feinberg has handled various emotionally charged crises, including the Virginia Tech shootings. More recently, he was tasked with determining salaries for the top 25 executives of seven different firms that received large amounts of TARP funds during the current financial upheaval. Feinberg’s other credentials include working with Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, clerking in the New York State Court of Appeals, and eventually working at the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Feinberg’s experience mediating serious conflicts spans 25 years. His first case was a class-action law suit against Agent Orange. The suit involved more than 250,000 Vietnam veterans and had lingered in the courts for years. In fact, more than eight years passed without resolution. Nevertheless, Feinberg was successful in getting the case settled for $180 million in about six weeks.

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