U.S. Supreme Court Rejects BP’s Request to Halt Oil Spill Payments

By Greg Stohr | June 10, 2014

BP Plc must pay potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in claims after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt disputed payments stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Rejecting a request from BP, the justices today said they wouldn’t put a hold on lower court rulings that require the oil company to begin making the payments, part of a $9.2 billion accord.

BP says some of the money would go to businesses whose losses were unrelated to the spill, including lawyers who lost their licenses and warehouses that burned down before the spill.

The company says the process violates the Constitution and the federal rules that govern class action litigation.

Under its normal scheduling practices, the high court will decide late this year whether to take up BP’s appeal.

BP settled with most private-party plaintiffs in 2012, initially estimating the cost of the agreement at $7.8 billion. The company contends that a flawed interpretation by the claims administrator helped raise the price to $9.2 billion or more.

Lawyers for spill victims say BP is trying to renege on a settlement that is proving more costly than anticipated.

The case is BP Exploration v. Lake Eugenie Land, 13A1177.

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