Governor Riley: AG’s lawsuit against BP is premature

By Nate Hall

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Governor Bob Riley says he feels Alabama Attorney General  Troy King may have jumped the gun when it comes to filing lawsuits against BP.

In an interview on Good Day Alabama, Riley stated that he feels the lawsuit may delay and reduce the amount of money that Alabama would get.  "We never told him(Troy King) that he couldn't hire an attorney," says Riley. "We just don't want a contingency contract on money that Alabama was going to get anyway. An attorney could get 14% for no work on $148 million."

Riley says he feels BP has been acting in good faith, so far, and until BP outright says they are unwilling to pay, there is no reason to file a lawsuit. The Governor says this is his biggest fear when it comes to settlement. "I don't want to be in the position where all states are at the table with BP and Alabama will have to leave when it is time to divide up the money, due to litigation," said Riley.

The Governor estimates that Alabama would have to wait a minimum of 5 years to ever claim money through the courts. "That's why you don't see any other state or attorney general filing lawsuits right now," adds Riley.

When it comes to the rate of payment for Alabamians' claims, Riley says he feels it is not fast enough. He says a new rapid response team is being created to help those whose claims have not been backed up with the proper documentation. The team will look for missing data like Social Security numbers and phone numbers that could help expedite the claims process.

Governor Riley says he feels the people have waited long enough and wants to get a large amount of claims paid by next week.

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