Gulf oil spill litigation

A federal judge has thrown out racketeering claims by the lead plaintiffs suing BP over last year's oil spill.

Gulf residents and businesses alleged that BP defrauded regulators in connection with the safety of its drilling operations, its ability to respond to any oil spill, and its response to the actual spill. The RICO law was originally enacted to combat the Mafia.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier dismissed the claims Friday. The decision does not affect other damage claims still pending from the same plaintiffs.

Barbier also set aside a lawsuit filed against BP by one of its partners on the well project that resulted in the oil spill. He stayed Anadarko's claims because its contract with BP required arbitration of such disputes, rather than litigation.

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