DiNapoli Lines up Counsel for BP Oil Spill Suit

June 23, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that he hired a law firm to represent the state Common Retirement Fund (CRF) in a class action investor lawsuit against BP Plc. 

A Bloomberg news report said the CRF will seek lead-plaintiff status in an action stemming from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April. DiNapoli said the fund held more than 19 million shares of BP at the time.  

“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,” DiNapoli said in a statement. 

Four suits are pending against BP, one in California and three in Louisiana, Robert Whalen, a spokesman for the comptroller, told Bloomberg. DiNapoli believes the suits will be consolidated at some point and wants the newly hired law firm, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, to manage the litigation on the state’s behalf, Whalen said. 

New York’s pension fund provides benefits to more than one million state and local government employees, police officers, and firefighters.