BP — facing billions of dollars in payments for claims the company says are “fictitious” — lost another bid in federal court to limit claims from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
On Monday, a panel of judges from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-5 that BP doesn’t have grounds to fight against a settlement that it previously accepted.
In March, the same court decided that the settlement fund agreed by BP in 2011 should pay claims by companies affected economically by the Gulf oil spill.
BP had asked the 5th circuit to rehear the case.
The oil company said it was unfairly required to pay claims to businesses that could not demonstrate that their losses were related to the spill.
After Monday’s ruling, BP must now either pay the claims or try to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
BP spokesman Geoff Morell said in a statement the company is considering its legal options.
In 2011, BP agreed that the claims fund would pay businesses within a curtain distance from the shoreline, according to a formula that assumed economic loss.
If a business could demonstrate a particular pattern of economic loss — a sharp drop in income immediately after the spill, followed by a sharp recovery some time later — then damage from the spill would be assumed, the LA Times said.
BP agreed to the formula to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.
But since then it has argued that the fund is paying fraudulent and illegitimate claims that it could not have foreseen.