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BP faces additional lawsuits after Gulf oil spill

Businesses and pension holders from Massachusetts to California are watching the outcome of a particular federal lawsuit. BP, the company that made the news during the Gulf oil spill, now faces a lawsuit after it allegedly did not report safety issues to its New York City pension fund. The fund has filed a lawsuit for a minimum of $39 million in losses. The lawsuit, which was filed on April 17 in Manhattan, claims that the company misled investors.

Parties involved in the business litigation include city employees, emergency personnel, teachers and police officers. The lawsuit claims that BP tried to minimize the damage and the resulting costs after the April 20, 2010, explosion killed 11 employees in the largest oil spill in American history.

In 2012, BP settled most of the lawsuits for about $8.5 billion and was also fined $4 billion by the U.S. Additional claims and fines could easily total more than $17 billion. However, the pension fund cannot pursue business litigation against BP because of a 2012 Supreme Court decision related to federal securities laws.

The present lawsuit cites state law in order to proceed through the judicial process. A joint shareholder lawsuit is pending in federal court in Houston.

Individuals in Massachusetts may struggle if they try to pursue a complicated case that involves different state and federal laws. A commercial lawyer might be able to help plaintiffs pursue federal or state claims against an individual or business, such as in the BP Gulf oil spill.

Source: Bloomberg, "New York City Employee Pension Funds Sue BP Over Gulf Oil Spill," Karen Gullo, April 26, 2013

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