Legal advocates fight poverty caused by BP oil spill disaster

February 2, 2012

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

LEGAL ADVOCATES FIGHT POVERTY CAUSED BY BP OIL SPILL DISASTER
Experts discuss hard-hit coastal communities and the ways to seek economic justice

What: The long-term ramifications to already-depressed industries and communities will require federal support, effective solutions, and the expertise that only local legal services can provide. Legal advocates address ways to ensure access to justice when at the American Bar Association’s conference “The Cost of Justice.”

Who: Martha Bergmark, President and CEO of Mississippi Center for Justice, will join other legal advocates from the Gulf region to share strategies to protect vulnerable communities from predatory legal practices, and discuss the topics including the ongoing damage from the BP oil spill, complicated filing systems and slow action on claims, which have left already underserved small businesses and residents in economic distress.

When: Bergmark will be available for interviews on Thursday 2/2 and Friday 2/3

Where: To schedule interview contact rpieters@douglasgould.com; (914) 833-7093

Why: Those affected include fishermen, shrimpers, casino workers, service industry employees and others, many of whom are living hand to mouth, homeless or living in abject poverty. Advocates like Bergmark are working with people who are struggling to navigate the claims process to get the compensation they deserve; developing a growing regional network of attorneys who are providing legal help without charge; educating people about their rights and helping them get justice and advocating for claims process that provides equal access and equitable distribution of recovery monies in response to this and future disasters. To date, more than 6,000 requests for services have been received by this regional team, resulting in more than $9 million paid to people who continue to struggle with economic losses from this disaster.

Interview Opp:
Expert Martha Bergmark, President and CEO of Mississippi Center for Justice, will be available for interviews to provide remarks on the ongoing, lengthy, often-difficult claims process, and ways legal aid attorneys are working with individuals to get fair results and secure reasonable compensation from BP for losses.

Info: Check out Mississippi Center for Justice at www.mscenterforjustice.org

Contact: Rosslynn Pieters: rpieters@douglasgould.com, (914) 833-7093

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The Mississippi Center for Justice opened its doors in 2003, giving Mississippi a critical capacity for social change: a home grown, non-profit public interest law firm that pursues racial and economic justice through advocacy for systemic change. The Mississippi Center for Justice carries out its mission through a community lawyering approach that advances specific social justice campaigns in partnership with national and local organizations and community leaders.