Gulf oil spill: Judge delays start of BP trial, citing Super Bowl, Mardi Gras

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge — citing the distractions of Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl — has postponed the trial designed to identify causes of the BP well blowout that spawned the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The trial had been scheduled to start Jan. 14, but U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier said Friday that it will open Feb. 25.

The NFL's Super Bowl is set Feb. 3 at the Superdome. Mardi Gras is Feb. 12, but parades begin weeks earlier.

The judge refused to postpone a Nov. 1 deadline for businesses and individuals to opt-out of a multibillion dollar settlement between BP and private plaintiffs' attorneys over economic damage claims from the spill.

Barbier also refused to delay a Nov. 8 fairness hearing on the proposed settlement.

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