Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Federal judge urged to approve BP settlement

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NEW ORLEANS — BP and attorneys for businesses and people who lost money in the gulf oil spill urged a federal judge Thursday to give his final approval to a class-action settlement.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier heard arguments from lawyers who negotiated the deal as well as other attorneys who have objected to parts of it. BP PLC estimates it will pay $7.8 billion to resolve the claims, but the settlement is not capped and BP could pay out more or less.

Barbier, who didn't immediately rule, said that the hearing was designed to help him determine if the settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate" and that he doesn't have the authority to rewrite or renegotiate it. Barbier said he would rule in the coming days.

Barbier preliminarily approved the agreement in May. Since then, thousands of people have opted out to pursue their claims individually. BP attorney Rick Godfrey said fewer people opted out than the company had expected.

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