(Adds comments from BP, plaintiffs’ lawyers)
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block payments BP PLC is required to make to businesses demanding compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill as the company fights a lower court ruling.
The high court rejected the company’s emergency application, filed on May 28 after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction that had prevented payments being made while the case was being decided.
BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the company still plans to seek Supreme Court review of the appeals court ruling on the overall case.
“The company continues to believe that the lifting of the injunction suspending the payment of business economic loss claims will allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be irretrievably scattered to claimants whose losses were not plausibly caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident,” he added.
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs said in a statement the court action on Monday “will allow businesses to continue to receive the compensation they’re rightly entitled to according to the objective, transparent formulas agreed to by BP.”
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; Editing by Howard Goller and Andrew Hay)