Appeals court hearing BP challenge on spill claims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court is hearing BP’s bid to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses claiming they lost money after the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lawyers for BP and Gulf Coast businesses and residents began arguments Monday before a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

BP wants the panel to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that upheld a court-appointed claims administrator’s interpretation of the settlement.

BP claims the administrator has allowed thousands of businesses to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in payments for inflated and fictitious losses.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers counter that BP underestimated how many claimants would qualify for payments.

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