By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court has heard dueling arguments on whether a judge should have approved BP's multibillion-dollar settlement for compensating victims of its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
During Monday's hearing, a BP attorney said the deal it reached last year with a team of private plaintiffs' attorneys "became something else" after U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier upheld a court-appointed claims administrator's interpretation of terms governing payouts to businesses.
Plaintiffs' attorneys asked a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Barbier's approval of the settlement. BP, however, argues Barbier's approval shouldn't be upheld unless the company ultimately prevails in its dispute over payments to businesses.
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