WASHINGTON May 28 BP Plc on Wednesday
asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to allow the
company to avoid making payments to businesses demanding
compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill while
The company acted after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction earlier in the day
that had prevented payments being made. Last week, the court had
decided not to revisit a decision rejecting BP's bid to block
payments to businesses that could not trace their economic
losses to the disaster.
Scalia, who has responsibility for emergency applications
arising from the 5th Circuit, can either act on BP's request
himself or refer the matter to the nine-member court as a whole.
There is no specific deadline by which the court must act.
In the new court filing, BP's lawyers say that if the
payments are not blocked, "countless awards totaling potentially
hundreds of millions of dollars will be irreparably scattered to
claimants that suffered no injury traceable to BP's conduct."
The appeals court in March voted 2-1 to authorize payments
on so-called business economic loss claims, and said the
injunction preventing payments should be lifted. BP already had
said it would seek Supreme Court review of the ruling.
BP is trying to limit payments over the April 20, 2010,
explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of
BP's Macondo oil well. The disaster killed 11 people and
triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.
A lower court judge had ruled that BP would have to live
with its earlier interpretation of a multibillion-dollar
settlement agreement over the spill, in which certain businesses
claiming losses were presumed to have suffered harm.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Dan
Levine; Editing by Howard Goller and Tom Brown)