Two federal courts came down on opposite sides of the “to stay or not to stay” question on Tuesday in cases over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Mobile, Ala., denied a request by BP PLC, one of the defendants, to stay a lawsuit brought by a seafood processor, holding that a stay would be premature and that BP should answer the complaint now because it will have to at some point. BP is seeking to have federal lawsuits stayed in five of the Gulf states until a judicial panel decides whether to combine the more than 130 federal cases into a multidistrict proceeding.

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