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The speed at which BP PLC reached a $7.8 billion settlement on economic damages and medical costs in the Deepwater Horizon litigation has been remarkable. The agreement, pending court approval, took care of the bulk of the private plaintiffs’ claims, but didn’t end BP’s legal problems. A trial on how to apportion liability between the company and its business partners is scheduled to begin on January 14. And claims by the federal and Gulf state governments remain pending.

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