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BP will pay $7.8 billion to settle a lawsuit over the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill with attorneys representing thousands of individual plaintiffs and businesses on the eve of a major trial in a New Orleans federal court.  BP said it expects to pay the settlement from the money remaining in a $20 billion escrow account it setupduring the spill to resolve individual and business claimswithout going to court. The settlement amount includes $2.3 billion to help resolve economic loss claims related to the gulf seafood industry. The rest of the money is divided into separate portions for economic and medical claims.

The deal is subject to approval by New Orleans District Court Judge Carl Barbier, who issued a statement Friday night that the trial will be postponed again as other parties reassess their strategies in the case. (Wash Post, 3/3/2012)