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BP sues lawyer over oil spill claim filings

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC has sued Texas lawyer Mikal Watts, saying he fraudulently claimed to represent 40,000 deckhands who lost money because of the 2010 oil spill.

The lawsuit claims his filings inflated the estimate for a settlement fund to $2.3 billion.

Watts did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

The lawsuit alleges more than half the Social Security numbers on Watts’ client list were fake.

BP says $1.3 billion remains in the fund to repay commercial fishing vessel owners, captains and deckhands for losses from the spill. BP is asking a judge to give some of that money back to the company.

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