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Court rules judge can hear Deepwater Horizon cases

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court has refused to order a judge to recuse himself from dozens of lawsuits over the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig explosion even though he owned corporate bonds issued by two of the companies sued in the cases.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans refused to disqualify himself from presiding over more than 40 suits spawned by the April 20 rig blast because he argued that his ownership of debt instruments issued by Halliburton and Transocean didn’t give him a financial interest in the companies.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Barbier yesterday, rejecting a bid by BP, Halliburton and other companies to have him removed from the cases.

Barbier instructed his broker to sell the bonds on June 2, four weeks after the first suit was filed.

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