Russian Law Journal

Advanced search

Compensating Victims of Mass Disasters Through the Court System: Procedural Challenges and Innovations

Full Text:


How best to compensate victims of mass disasters – whether made by man or nature – is a worldwide problem. This article considers the very different approaches in three recent U.S. disasters. In the 2001 9/11 terrorist bombings, in which the wrong-doers could not reached, the government bore the brunt of the compensation. In the Katrina litigation, where the damage was from the 2005 hurricane, long-term losses had to be recovered through insurance or tort suits, neither of which turned out very satisfactorily for the victims. In the BP Oil Spill litigation, resulting from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the court tort system has been the primary source of compensation against BP and its partners that were responsible for the disaster. The ‘claims process’ that has been central to insuring long-term compensation is examined.

About the Author

Edward Sherman
Tulane University School of Law
United States


1. Effron R, ‘Disaster-Specific Mechanisms for Consolidation’ (2008) 82 Tul L Rev 2423.

2. Fisk M & Calkins L, ‘BP Says Loss on Spill Claims Appeals Could Scuttle Settlement’ Bloomberg (New York, 3 August 2013) <>.

3. –– ‘BP’s Oil Spill Deal Sours as Claims Add Billions to Cost’ Bloomberg (New York,5 June 2013) <>.

4. Force R, Davies M & Force JS, ‘Deepwater Horizon: Removal Costs, Civil Damages, Crimes, Civil Penalties, and State Remedies in Oil Spill Cases’ (2011) 85 Tul L Rev 889, 898.

5. McGovern F, ‘The What and Why of Claims Resolution Facilities’ (2005) 57 Stan L Rev 1361.

6. Sherman EF, ‘The MDL Model for Resolving Complex Litigation if a Class Action is Not Possible ’ (2008) 82 Tul L Rev 2205, 2213–16.

For citation:

Sherman E. Compensating Victims of Mass Disasters Through the Court System: Procedural Challenges and Innovations. Russian Law Journal. 2013;1(1):66-79.

Views: 1581

ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)