A spokesman for BP told a reporter that the waiver clause had now been removed from the contracts, and that the company won't enforce it in contracts that were previously signed. But King, a Republican, isn't satisfied. He said last night he's still concerned that the process could strip people of their right to sue.
Sid Jackson, a Mobile-based lawyer representing a shrimper who last week filed suit against BP, claiming that the spill had already taken a financial toll on his business, told TPMmuckraker that he believed BP would be wise to back down. "I think they kind of drop-kicked that [waiver] clause into the fine print," Jackson said. But, "I think it would backfire" if BP tried to enforce it.
"This is the same company that told the coast guard there was no leak," Jackson added.
BP has been hiring local fishermen to help with the effort to mitigate the impact of the spill -- and has included what seems to have been a similar clause in the contracts it asked them to sign.
Spokespeople for BP and for King's office did not immediately respond to TPMmuckraker's requests for comment.