Judge suspends some oil spill settlement payments

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has ordered the administrator of a multibillion-dollar settlement over BP’s 2010 Gulf oil spill to immediately suspend making settlement offers and payments to some businesses that claim the company’s 2010 oil spill cost them money.

U.S. District Carl Barbier issued Thursday’s order a day after an appeals court reversed his rulings in a dispute between BP and plaintiffs’ attorneys over the settlement’s formula for compensating businesses.

BP argued that claims administrator Patrick Juneau’s interpretation of the settlement could have forced it to pay billions of dollars for bogus or inflated business claims. Barbier had upheld Juneau’s interpretation.

Barbier said Thursday’s order applies to any business claims in which the “matching of revenues and expenses is an issue,” but he didn’t specify how many claimants could be affected.

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