Legal representatives from Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross are flying to London to meet City investors
British pension schemes which held investments in BP during the Deepwater Horizon disaster are being urged by a New York law firm to file claims against the oil company to recover “billions of dollars” in compensation.
Legal representatives from Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross are flying to London this month to explain to investors that they can take advantage of Texas law to pursue claims.
A recent US supreme court decision in the case of Morrison v National Australia Bank blocked foreign investors from seeking remedies in federal courts, but Marc Gross, a partner at Pomerantz, said this should not be the end of any fight for restitution.
“Since BP’s (alleged) misconduct and defrauding of investors occurred principally in Texas, non-US residents can seek recovery under Texas statutory and common law,” he argues.
Pomerantz, an expert in the area of corporate, securities and antitrust class litigation, is calling on UK pension schemes that bought BP ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange during the period between 16 January 2007 and 28 May 2010 to get in touch.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April 2010 saw BP’s stock price plummet nearly 50% in weeks and wiped billions from UK pension funds. BP’s shares are now worth around a third less than in mid-April 2010.
The London-based oil group agreed in March to pay $7.8bn (£4.8bn) to resolve most plaintiffs’ claims for loss, damage and cleanup-related injuries. BP is still waiting to hear from the department of justice whether it could face criminal charges of negligence.
The company, which saw one of its former engineers arrested for deleting emails related to the Deepwater accident, was tight-lipped on Sunday on the activities of the New York law firm. A spokesman said: “We never comment on any litigation or potential litigation.”
But Pomeranz believes that regardless of what is happening elsewhere, British investors have scope for taking action. “It is our opinion that meritorious claims can be asserted on behalf of UK pension schemes for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and aiding and abetting under the state law, with BP failing to reform after two major accidents in 2005 and 2006, despite conducting an extensive internal investigation,” says Gross.
State law claims can only be asserted through individual, not class actions and the American lawyer argues British pension schemes must take steps to file an action before the end of this month.
“It is a race against the clock as investors face the risk of the statute of limitations for certain claims expiring. To avoid such a potential obstacle, we urge UK investors to take prompt action.”