A federal judge in New Orleans has agreed to delay another oil spill lawsuit — as requested by BP PLC — while a federal judge in Mobile, Ala., has denied a similar request. The two decisions this week continue the nearly 50-50 split that has emerged on the question whether to stay or not to stay oil spill cases.

To date, 17 stays have been denied and 16 stays have been approved, according to plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Becnel Jr. of Becnel Law Firm in Reserve, La., who has several oil spill cases and has been tracking stay decisions.