A federal court in New Orleans said businesses claiming damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill don’t have to show proof that their losses were caused by the disaster.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said some businesses are presumed to have suffered harm from the spill based on patterns previously set by the court.

The judge didn’t allow BP to argue against the earlier approach that the company now claims is producing higher damage awards.

In ruling against BP, the judge said its new argument was “inconsistent with its previous position, it directly contradicts what it has told this court.”

A BP spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said, “Awarding money to claimants with losses that were not caused by the spill is contrary to the language of the settlement and violates established principles of class action law. BP intends to seek appropriate appellate remedies to correct this error.”

The company said its costs have been inflated by fictitous claims and payments by the court-appointed settlement administrator Patrick Juneau to businesses not harmed by the spill.

BP originally projected that its settlement with businesses and individuals harmed by the spill would cost $7.8 billion, according to Reuters. As of late October, the company had boosted the estimate to $9.2 billion, and it said the sum could grow “significantly higher.”

Earlier in December, a federal appeals court directed Judge Barbier to re-evaluate the trustee’s method of computing business losses.

As of Monday, according to Reuters, about $3.81 billion had been paid out to 40,371 spill claimants.


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