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Louisiana AG appealing oil spill payment ruling

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell is asking a federal appeals court to throw out a judge’s order that could allow plaintiffs’ attorneys to receive a portion of any money the state recovers from BP PLC over the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said up to 6 percent of many settlement payments must be set aside in a fund to pay private attorneys who are members of a steering committee representing plaintiffs with oil spill claims.

Last Friday, Caldwell’s office asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the order with respect to Louisiana and require Barbier to hold a hearing on the state’s arguments against the arrangement.

Caldwell says Barbier’s order tramples on the state’s constitutional rights and violates sovereignty principles.

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