LT. General Russel Honore (Ret), Mayor Timothy Kerner of Lafitte, and BP Health Victims Call for Justice for BP Clean-up Workers on Labor Day Weekend
New Orleans, La., August 31, 2018. On Labor Day weekend, LTG General Russel Honore (Ret) joined Mayor Timothy Kerner of Lafitte, cleanup workers, and family members from Louisiana and the Gulf Coast to demand Judge Carl Barbier, British Petroleum, the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC), and the Medical Claims Administrator bring justice to thousands of BP health victims. The group gathered outside of the law office of PSC member Stephan Herman of Herman, Herman and Katz.
“I did not spend decades defending my country and our institutions of democracy only to come home and watch a foreign owned company spray chemicals on our workers and not be held accountable,” said General Honore. “We spend billions of dollars defending people in places like Syria from chemical weapons but allow British Petroleum and a handful of lawyers to hijack our justice system. It is un-American for a person who was knowingly injured by a big corporation which was found to be grossly negligent to be denied their day in court while the lawyers make off with hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Mayor Timothy Kerner of the town of Lafitte, a fishing community in coastal Louisiana, urged anyone who worked on the oil spill or lived near the coast to take the health risks seriously. A town hall for BP health victims is scheduled for Thursday, September 6th in at the Lafitte Civic Center.
“The shrimpers and fishermen in our community need to take the BP health risk very seriously even 8 years after the spill. I urge them to come together because we are still getting sick and dying. You need to know what you can do to be proactive about protecting your health.”
A petition with over 94 thousand signatures was delivered to the Law office of Stephan Herman. “We know that the 19 attorneys on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee walked away with at least $700 million and there are credible estimates that that number is closer to $3 billion,” said Jonathan Henderson, an environmental organizer and lobbyist from New Orleans. “We know that Stephan Herman and his firm were paid at least $87 million and the politically-appointed Claims Administrator walked away with $155 million. However, of the tens of thousands of clean-up workers and others suffering with health-related problems who submitted a claim in the outlined process, only 20 percent were given even the minimum compensation--$1300, said Henderson”
“I stepped up to the plate as a citizen of Louisiana to help clean up the oil spill only to become critically ill because of the toxic chemicals,” said Luke Boudreaux. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital and even fell into a coma. I lost everything, and almost lost my life. It’s disgusting to find out the lawyers, including Stephen Herman, made over $700 million while I have received zero.”
“To reduce their first-round settlement, BP lawyers limited settlements for illness diagnosed before April 2012, said Sheree Stuart. Their argument was they would set aside settlement money for the cancers that would come years later. I call that premeditated murder. They had the opportunity to notify workers of symptoms to watch for, and setup screening, monitoring, and a medical protocol to follow so workers could avoid extensive health issues and death that hit our family like a baseball bat upside our heads. They notified no one.”
Henderson and the General pointed to these facts:
“Senate Resolution 16 adopted by the Louisiana State Senate during this year’s 2nd special session urges and requests BP to pay for medical screening, treatment and monitoring,” said Henderson. “That was a good step but it was only a resolution and not enforceable. Our government and our justice system need to do much more to hold BP’s feet to the fire.”
“I speak up this Labor Day weekend for those clean up workers and coastal residents that continue to suffer this great injustice. I call on Judge Barbier and the Medical Claims Administrator Matt Garretson to move these cases along. And I call on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to give the money back and let’s use it to take care of these workers and families who did the real work and are suffering.
At the September 6 Town Hall in Lafitte, a new 30 minute documentary entitled Disappearing Victims and produced by Sheree Stuart and her daughter Bailey will premier.
Link to petition:
Justice for BP Health Victims