How we saved the bar date after Tort Committee objects to initial notice program
The Debtor hired Signal’s Dr. Shannon Wheatman to redesign the notice program to help them overcome an objection by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors to the media portion of the bar date notice program.
Dr. Wheatman prepared a detailed declaration laying out in-depth research on geographic mobility of islanders. This was important, since Hess operated the oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1965 to 1998. Special care was taken to talk with Hess employees on St. Croix, the location of the oil refinery, to determine the best way to reach claimants. Migration to the mainland U.S. was also reviewed to determine the key U.S. locations to focus media.
The media program provided worldwide notice with a focus on the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as nine other Caribbean islands and the U.S. Information about the bankruptcy was distributed across 169 countries and 19 languages, reaching an audience of over 1.7 billion people.
Creative, plain language materials were used in television, radio, newspapers, and online. The program also included community outreach to religious organizations in St. Croix, relevant organizations on Facebook (including employee reunion groups), and 18 unions.
“I’ve been asked to thank Dr. Wheatman, who’s the declarant today. I’ve been told that she was very helpful, very generous with her time with the Committee, and its questions, and very informative, and we appreciate her time and the process.”
Marty Brimmage, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, representative of the Committee, in the hearing on the motion to approve the bar date