Ohio AG sues over BP oil spill

Keith Loria Feb. 15, 2011, 3:44pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Monday that he has filed a class action lawsuit against British Petroleum and other defendants for allegedly failing to be prepared for the Deepwater Horizon disaster that occurred in April.

Acting in his capacity as lead counsel for a class of pension plans and investors -- including the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System, School Employees Retirement System and Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund -- DeWine alleges that BP executives had promised investors that safety procedures were in place prior to the disastrous event.

"In the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, in addition to the tragic loss of life and environmental damage, pension systems providing retirement benefits for current and future retirees who invested in BP in good faith were adversely affected when stock prices plummeted," DeWine said.

Joining DeWine in the suit is Thomas P. DiNapoli, comptroller of the state of New York, who represents the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

The suit alleges that BP executives had ensured that a sound and adequate safety plan would be put in place as a result of a series of safety issues the company had previously experienced. This safety plan, however, was allegedly never put in place.

The suit also alleges that the company continued to mislead investors by downplaying the extent of the spill and misrepresenting the likelihood that its attempts to halt the spill would be successful.

The statements made by BP about its safety precautions and procedures lowered the company's risk profile and inflated its stock, causing investors to suffer huge financial losses, DeWine says.

After the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP's stock fell as much as 48 percent.

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