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The Supreme Court is leaving in place BP's multibillion-dollar settlement with lawyers for businesses and residents over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
The justices did not comment Monday in rejecting the London-based oil giant's arguments that lower courts misinterpreted settlement terms and put BP on the hook to pay inflated and bogus claims by businesses.

The court's decision makes the economic and property damage settlement final, starting a six-month deadline for filing claims, said plaintiffs' attorney Joe Rice of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

BP PLC wanted the court to consider whether people and businesses seeking payments under the settlement included some who haven't actually suffered any injury related to the spill.

A district court and an appeals court ruled that, under the settlement BP agreed to, businesses do not have to prove they were directly harmed by the spill to collect money — only that they made less money in the three to eight months after the spill than in a comparable pre-spill period.

BP's Macondo well blew up on April 20, 2010, killing 11 men. An estimated 103 million to 176 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico before the mile-deep well was capped July 15, 2010. Lawyers for BP and the government agree that 34 million gallons was captured before it could pollute coastal marshes and fishing grounds.

"Today's ruling is a huge victory for the Gulf, and should finally put to rest BP's two-year attack on its own settlement," lead plaintiffs' attorneys Stephen J. Herman and James P. Roy said in an emailed statement.


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