Alabama Attorney General Troy King filed two lawsuits in August to ensure that BP keeps its word that about paying legitimate claims. According to the Montgomery Advertiser on 8/30/10, King alleges that BP hired lawyers and experts to avoid paying out some claims. The lawsuit could reportedly be dropped if BP fulfills its financial obligations to Alabama.
With so much of the US focused on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a release of toxic chemicals at a BP refinery went largely unnoticed until residents nearby became ill. The New York Times reported on8/29/10 that approximately 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals were released from a refinery in Texas City. Instead of shutting down the refinery, BP chose to attempt to burn off the released chemicals, but many were still released into the air, including benzene, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.
Citizens and local officials were not informed about the release of toxic gases until after the situation was over, although many children experienced respiratory problems. Now residents have filed a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against BP.
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Fund managers now face lawsuits from investors who allege their assets were invested in BP stock when it was not prudent to do so, a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). If fund managers knew that BP had safety problems or a history of safety issues, BP could have been an imprudent investment for plan assets.
Some reports indicate that BP has lost over half its market value because of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill. Whether or not these recent lawsuits will have an impact on BP employee benefits plan lawsuits remains to be seen.