New York City's pension funds, among the largest in the country, have brought a suit against BP PLC claiming their members lost $39 million as a result of BP's actions before and after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
In a 237-page complaint, the pension funds allege their investments in BP were made at "artificially inflated" prices because the company exaggerated its ability to work safely in the Gulf. They allege BP cut corners leading up to the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, and then played down the scope of the spill and cost of cleanup operation to prop up its share price.
As a result, the funds say they lost "tens of millions of dollars" after shares of BP plunged by 48% in the months after the incident.
"This lawsuit seeks to hold defendants accountable for the misrepresentations they made to plaintiffs and the tens of millions of dollars in losses they caused plaintiffs to suffer on their BP investments," states the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A spokesman for BP declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit was brought by a group of pension funds for New York City employees, teachers, police, firefighters, and the board of education.
The funds held a combined 2.8 million in BP shares valued at $19.3 million as of April 25, according to the New York City Comptroller's office.
The New York pension funds' suit mirrors a complaint filed in federal court in Houston on behalf of a number of U.K.-based pension funds, including South Yorkshire Pensions Authority. That lawsuit represents a consolidation of a number of suits filed soon after the Deepwater Horizon accident, but only addresses Texas state law claims.
Tom Fowler contributed to this article.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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