U.S. appeals court affirms BP settlement in 2010 Gulf oil spill

Reuters

REUTERS - A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a federal judge's approval of a multi-billion dollar settlement between BP Plc and businesses and individuals who lost money and property in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP had supported the settlement agreement leading up to the December 2012 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier approving it. But the company has since argued the administration of the settlement is faulty because it allows claimants without actual damages to join in.

In the 2-1 decision, the appeals court panel rejected the arguments by BP. It noted that the company had failed to explain "how this court or the district court should identify or even discern the existence of 'claimants that have suffered no cognizable injury.'"

BP had originally projected that its settlement in the case would cost $7.8 billion. As of late October it had boosted this estimate to $9.2 billion, and said this sum could grow "significantly higher."

The case stems from the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP's Macondo oil well, which killed 11 people and triggered the largest-ever U.S. offshore oil spill. The torrent fouled shorelines from Texas to Alabama.

Plaintiffs ranged from hotel owners to oyster gatherers.

Billions of dollars have already been paid out to claimants. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Ken Wills)

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