NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has rejected BP's request to block what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses who claim the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cost them money.

Before a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier already had upheld court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau's interpretation of settlement terms governing payments to businesses affected by the spill. Barbier said he saw no basis for changing his earlier ruling and issuing a preliminary injunction blocking Juneau from issuing payments to businesses.

BP argues that Juneau made decisions in January that expose the company to fictitious losses that were never contemplated in the settlement.

Private plaintiffs' attorneys who brokered last year's deal with BP say the London-based oil giant's allegations are baseless and self-serving.

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