Protecting All Parties

Not surprising — after all, the whole point of a settlement is to head off future claims, and the powerful people involved in this want to keep the liability as narrow as possible.

But you saw what happened to people who got sick after working at Ground Zero. I predict that these Gulf workers, who have to accept what they can get just to stay afloat now, will be stuck with enormous medical problems later:

WASHINGTON — People and businesses seeking a lump-sum settlement from BP’s $20 billion oil spill compensation fund will most likely have to waive their right to sue not only BP, but also all the other major defendants involved with the spill, according to internal documents from the lawyers handling the fund.

The documents — which include e-mails, draft and final versions of the protocols, claims forms and legal notes about the administration of the fund — provide the first definitive picture of who will be paid by the $20 billion fund, and how and when.

They also shed new light on the components of the payment plan that are likely to stir controversy, including the fund’s emphasis on geographic proximity as a determining factor for eligibility.