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BOISE Idaho (Reuters) - More than 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, a panel of U.S. judges heard arguments from lawyers on Thursday on how piles of oil spill-related lawsuits against BP Plc should be merged.

The panel, meeting in Boise, Idaho, as part of its regularly scheduled rotation among federal courts, did not immediately rule on how it would handle the mounting civil litigation brought against BP and other defendants involved in the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

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