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May 10th, 2010

Matt Shaffer Quoted in The Times of London: Oil Rig Explosion Lawyers

In pertinent part taken from the article online here:

A few days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, survivors started getting unsolicited telephone calls. On the other end of the line was a friendly voice from a firm called Shuman Consulting. According to lawyers acting for several of the workers, it described itself as an “independent” agency working on behalf of Transocean, owner of the rig.

They were calling with an offer: $5,000 (£3,400) to cover “personal effects” lost in the burnt-out wreck lying nearly a mile beneath the waves. All the workers had to do was sign a form in the presence of a notary releasing Transocean of claims “solely limited to … belongings and effects”.

For Matt Shaffer, a lawyer representing several Transocean employees, the calls set off alarms bells. Shuman’s job, he said, was to “get to these guys first” and try to keep payouts to a minimum.

“We are advising workers not to sign anything until they speak with a lawyer,” Shaffer said. “These guys have teams of lawyers and professionals. Workers are on their own.” It emerged this weekend that Bruce Shuman, previously the director of claims management at Transocean, is a princaple Shuman Consulting.

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