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BP Securities Litigation

Practice Area: Securities Fraud


Case Update

In a ruling in In re BP plc Securities Litigation, issued on February 6, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas, Keith Ellison, ruled that Lead Plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient as to the Company, Tony Hayward and Douglas Suttles to overcome BP’s motion to dismiss the second consolidated amended complaint.   

On April 2, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint to address portions of the case that were dismissed by the Court.  Lead Plaintiffs are the New York State Common Retirement Fund and various Ohio public pension funds.  Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC serves as co-lead counsel in the case.

In a ruling in In re BP plc Securities Litigation, issued on February 13, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas, Keith Ellison ruled that Lead Plaintiffs had stated an actionable claim for securities fraud against BP and certain of its senior executives under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The court denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint, holding that the amended complaint adequately pled that certain defendants made false or misleading statements and that the statements were made either knowingly or recklessly. 
The case relates to Defendants' misrepresentations regarding their progress in improving BP's process safety during the class period.  After a series of high profile safety incidents, beginning in 2007 Defendants falsely assured investors that the Company was committed to improving its process safety and consistently reported progress against specific standards that it had agreed to implement.  Defendants also falsely claimed that BP had the capability to effectively respond to an oil spill occurring in the Gulf of Mexico.  The truth about BP's failure to implement process safety reforms and its inability to respond to a spill was revealed publically following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  Defendants nevertheless continued to deceive investors by underestimating the amount of oil that was flowing into the ocean.  

Case Background

The New York State Common Retirement Fund and four Ohio public retirement systems asked to be appointed joint lead plaintiff in securities class-action cases against BP PLC over its oil-drilling safety.

In a memorandum in support of their motion for lead plaintiff status, filed on July 20, 2010 in U.S. District Court in Lafayette, La., the retirement systems estimated they lost between $181 million and $229.4 million in aggregate on their BP stock, depending on the accounting method, from June 30, 2005, through June 1 of this year.

The $132.6 billion New York state fund, Albany, and the $71.3 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Columbus, were joined in the motion by the $60.9 billion Ohio State Teachers Retirement System; the $10.1 billion Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund and the $9.6 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System, all also based in Columbus.

The motion sought lead plaintiff status in the class-action cases of Johnson Investment Counsel Inc. v. BP, filed on June 7, 2010, before Judge Rebecca F. Doherty, and Ludlow vs. BP, filed on May 21, 2010, before Judge Richard T. Haik Sr. Both cases are pending in U.S. District Court in Lafayette.

The systems in the motion also sought the court's approval of the law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Berman DeValerio to serve as co-lead plaintiff counsel.

Motion for Lead Plaintiff - July 20, 2010 [PDF]

Memorandum in Support - July 20, 2010 [PDF]

DiNapoli Sues BP Over Losses From Oil Spill Disaster
State Pension Fund Hires Cohen Milstein to Seek Lead Plaintiff Status

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, as trustee of the $132.6 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund), announced today that he has hired the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC to represent the Fund in a class action against BP Plc. DiNapoli said the Fund will seek lead plaintiff status in the action that stems from BP’s disastrous Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

“It’s my duty to protect the interests of the Fund and the retirees and employees who rely on it,” DiNapoli said. “BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill and we’re going to hold it accountable.”

DiNapoli said he is seeking to lead the class action against BP to give the Fund and other investors their best chance at recovering damages sustained from the decline in shareholder value subsequent to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. DiNapoli said the Fund held more than 19 million shares at the time of the event.

The Fund provides benefits to more than one million active and retired state and local government employees, police officers, and firefighters. In addition to investment earnings, the Fund is funded by contributions by state and local government employers and employees.


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