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NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court has handed BP another victory in its bid to block what could be hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses following the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a judge must reconsider BP PLC’s arguments that the settlement shouldn’t compensate businesses if their losses can’t be directly traced to the nation’s worst offshore oil spill. The panel said US District Judge Carl Barbier erred last month in refusing to consider the company’s ‘‘causation’’ arguments.
The spill occurred after BP’s Macondo well blew out in April 2010, causing the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to explode, killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf, with crude soiling shoreline and beaches from Louisiana to Florida. So far, the oil giant has paid out billions of dollars to residents and businesses affected by the spill.