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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected BP's argument that a multibillion-dollar settlement over the company's massive 2010 Gulf oil spill shouldn't compensate businesses if they can't directly trace their losses to the spill.U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his ruling that the settlement was designed to avoid the delays that would result from a "claim-by claim analysis" of whether each claim can be traced to the spill.Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Barbier erred when he initially refused to consider BP's "causation" arguments.In response to that ruling, Barbier agreed with plaintiffs' lawyers that BP can't make these arguments because the company took a contradictory position on the same issue when it urged Barbier last year to approve the settlement.Barbier said requiring claimants to meet BP's proposed requirements for connecting losses to the spill would bring the claims process to a "virtual standstill."Steve Herman and Jim Roy, two of the plaintiffs' lawyers who brokered the settlement with BP, said Gulf Coast business owners should be pleased that Barbier "once again rejected BP's efforts to rewrite history and the settlement.""The Court reaffirmed that the transparent, objective formulas spelled out in the agreement are the only way to determine a claimant's eligibility and causation," they said in a statement.