Judges Rule Oil Spill Harm Not Required in Claims

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New Orleans, La.

A divided three-judge federal appeals panel has ruled that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 oil spill to collect settlement payments.

The ruling, filed Monday, could clear the way for payments to resume from a settlement administrator after they were frozen earlier.

By a 2-1 vote, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Dec. 24, 2013, ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

Barbier ruled that BP had agreed to pay claims without requiring proof that losses were directly caused by the oil spill, and that the company's arguments didn't allow it to get out of the settlement to which it agreed.