BP LOSES AGAIN
BP Plc must pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damage claims while it seeks U.S. Supreme Court review of disputed payments in its $9.2 billion accord over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected the U.K.-based energy company's request to maintain a temporary halt on payments to businesses that can't prove they were directly damaged by the spill.
BP settled with most private-party plaintiffs in 2012, initially estimating the cost of the agreement at $7.8 billion. The company contends a flawed interpretation by the claims administrator helped raise the price to $9.2 billion or more.
A trial judge in December suspended payments to all businesses harmed by the spill, even those with losses unquestionably linked to the disaster, while the appeals court weighed BP's concerns.
On May 19, the court refused to reconsider its earlier rejection of BP's complaint that its claims administrator was misinterpreting the accord and approving hundreds of millions of dollars in "fictitious" claims.
"We are disappointed and will seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court of this ruling," Geoff Morrell, a spokesman for the London-based company, said in an e-mail.
Lawyers for spill victims have accused BP of "buyer's remorse" and trying to renege on a settlement that is proving more costly than anticipated.
"We are pleased that the court has refused BP's latest request to further delay claims payments," Steve Herman and Jim Roy, lead attorneys for the spill victims, said in an e-mail.
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