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APNewsBreak: Judge says BP contract shielded rig owner Transocean from some Gulf spill claims
NEW ORLEANS (AP) ' A federal judge has ruled that the rig owner involved in drilling the ill-fated well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico was shielded by its contract with BP for having to pay many pollution claims in the nation's largest offshore oil spill.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Thursday, however, that Transocean Ltd. is not exempt from paying punitive damages and civil penalties that arise from the April 20, 2010, blowout 100 miles off the Louisiana coast.
He also says Transocean is responsible for claims that are directly related to pollution caused by its rig.
The ruling comes as settlement discussions continue among BP, the states affected by the disaster and the government before next month's trial.