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Judge suspends some BP settlement payments

NEW ORLEANS — A judge ordered the administrator of a multibillion-dollar settlement over BP’s 2010 Gulf oil spill to suspend making settlement offers and payments to some businesses that claim the spill cost them money.

US District Judge Carl Barbier issued his order a day after an appeals court reversed his rulings in a dispute between BP and plaintiffs’ attorneys over the settlement’s compensation formula.

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BP argued the claims administrator’s interpretation could cost it billions for bogus or inflated claims. Barbier had upheld the administrator’s interpretation.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals noted BP has consistently argued the formula was intended to cover ‘‘real economic losses, not artificial losses that appear only from the timing of cash flows.’’

The appeals court directed Barbier to craft a ‘‘narrowly tailored injunction that allows the time necessary for deliberate reconsideration.”

Barbier instructed attorneys on both sides to provide him by Wednesday with proposed orders.

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