BP seeks rehearing in oil spill settlement dispute

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP on Tuesday asked an appeals court to review a ruling upholding a multibillion-dollar settlement to compensate victims of the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a filing with the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, BP argued that a divided three-judge panel from the court erred earlier this month when it affirmed a U.S. district judge's approval of the company's settlement with a team of private plaintiffs' lawyers. The New Orleans-based appeals court has 14 active judges and eight senior judges who also hear cases.

BP argued that the panel's Jan. 10 majority decision will force the company to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that weren't harmed by the massive spill.

The company's lawyers argue that the 5th Circuit panel shouldn't have upheld U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's December 2012 certification of a class of "vast numbers of claimants ... without regard to whether the class has been defined to include numerous members with no colorable claims against the defendants."

"If the panel's decision is permitted to stand, it will work a revolution in class-action law in this Circuit, permitting the certification of classes that cannot be certified anywhere else in the country," BP attorneys wrote.

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