A judge says Alabama's Gulf oil-spill-damage claims under the federal Oil Pollution Act can be heard by a jury.

BP had moved to block a jury trial for the state, saying that neither the Oil Pollution Act nor admiralty law provides the right to a trial by jury.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier (BAHR'-bih-aye) in New Orleans rejected the oil giant's arguments in a ruling released late Monday. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange hailed the ruling in a Tuesday news release. The civil cases arising from the 2010 spill have been consolidated in New Orleans. But Strange hopes that when the trial starts, as early as the spring of 2016, it will take place in Alabama.

BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the company is considering its legal options.