Now, Even BP Employees Are Suing the Oil Company

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BP oil spill lawsuitMembers of BP's (BP) employee savings plan are suing the oil giant over losses tied to the company's plunging stock price, Bloomberg reports. BP's stock price has lost about half its value since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 of its crew and creating a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Chicago, seeks class-action status. Bloomberg reports the complaint states that regulatory filings show the plan held $2.45 billion worth of London-based BP's American depositary shares, or 29% its $8.27 billion of assets, at the end of the 2009.

Current BP employees aren't the only ones suing the company over losses tied to its sinking share price. Another suit, filed in Manhattan, was brought by a former employee. It asks for unspecified damages and claims BP breached its fiduciary duty by making unwise investments. And New York State Common Retirement Fund, the nation's third-largest public pension fund, is seeking "lead plaintiff" status in the class action. A fund spokesman said "BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill, and we're going to hold it accountable."

Similarly, BP's own employees say the "Defendants knew or should have known that investment in BP Plc equity was -- and continues to be -- an imprudent investment of the ESP's assets due to serious mismanagement and improper business practices that resulted in catastrophic incidents of international significance, including, among others, the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

The drop in BP's share price has also erased more than $1.4 billion in value from 42 state retirement funds that hold BP stock.

It's not clear yet whether courts will decide that any of these suits have merit. If they do, the next question would be: What's the extent of BP's liability? The company said on June 28 that the just the cost of cleaning up the oil spill has reached $2.65 billion.
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