Class Action pursuit of BP - a Side C claim?

Class action lawsuit pursuing BP not just for Environmental reasons but also as part of a Securities claim

British shareholders are to join a US class action lawsuit pursuing BP for alleged securities fraud over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Guardian has learned.
American lawyers have already filed more than 180 lawsuits related to the spill, mostly against the company over the environmental and economic damage caused across the region.

BP shareholders - the majority of them based outside the more litigious US - have been slower to table their own claims.

But Robert Schachter, partner at Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, said that several British institutional investors had contacted him about joining the class action his New York-based firm recently filed. He said he was confident that at least one British investor would be named as a plaintiff next month in order to make it more likely that British institutions would share in any payout.

However, BP could challenge the right of British and other non-US investors to recover damages through the US courts.

Lawyers will allege that BP's management, led by its chief executive, Tony Hayward, misrepresented the company's true safety record, thereby artificially inflating its share price. When Hayward took over in 2007, he promised to focus "like a laser" on safety after the 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery, which killed 15 workers, and the oil spill from a BP-owned Alaska pipeline in 2006.

But US politicians have been hearing evidence that BP engineers did not follow correct drilling procedures before the Gulf of Mexico explosion on 20 April. Hayward admitted last month that the company did not have a proper plan in place to deal with such an accident.

BP agreed this week that it would set up a US$20bn escrow account to fund the clean-up and damages for those affected, such as people working in the fishing and tourism industries.

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