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Daniel Becnel Jr.

Open Thread - BP, The King Of Torts And Healthcare

Via MSNBC, a report that I read this morning in Bloomberg Businessweek and might be worth your eye contact for a few moments.

The tort lawyer and the BP oil disaster.

By Ken Wells
Bloomberg
Businessweek

Fri., May 28, 2010

Daniel Becnel Jr., speed dialing over a speaker phone, places a call to a lawyer for a defendant in the British Petroleum-Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill.

"This is the king of torts calling," he says when he reaches the attorney's executive assistant.

"Oh," she says. "Then it must be Danny Becnel."

Becnel, adjusting his gold-rimmed glasses, nods appreciatively from his mahogany desk strewn with an impressive pile of legal papers. It's from here, in a French colonial-style office in Reserve, La., population 10,000, that he orchestrated the filing of the first federal lawsuit eight days after the Apr. 20 blowout, and where he tracks the legal squadrons gathering to sue BP and its contractors for claims that experts say could add up to a half-a-trillion dollars or more. About 110 suits have been filed so far, according to Becnel, and dozens more appear to be on the way.

I am trying to remember which party is always talking about tort reform - except when they are calling it a government takeover of healthcare - and who would benefit from it the most? It is not like keeping caps on Big Oil's disaster costs low has helped stop any disasters as evidenced by the history of BP and other repeat offenders. This is part of why I have always viewed the idea of tort reform in healthcare that the GOP, mostly, has pushed for as an invitation to even greater healthcare disasters when healthcare remains in the hands of the private sector profiteers.

When you cap Big Oil's responsibilities for disasters at a mere 75 million dollars  - as the GOP and some Blue Dogs have fought to keep in place - it destroys the free market's and the government's ability to hold the worst offenders accountable: Make the jump»

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