Current and former BP executives and directors won dismissal last week of one of several U.S.-shareholder lawsuits filed over last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
A federal court in Houston on Sept. 15 said it was more appropriate that investors file their lawsuit in the United Kingdom because the company is based in London.
“English law governs this dispute and will determine whether the individual defendants breached their fiduciary duties and harmed BP in the process,” wrote U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison.
BP declined to comment. Plaintiffs’ attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. court could reassert jurisdiction if the UK courts refuse to take the case, the ruling said.
Investors had argued in their lawsuit that the company’s management and board were responsible for the disaster because they knowingly prioritized cost-cutting over safety.
Other oil spill-related lawsuits brought by BP shareholders — including one brought by New York and Ohio state pension funds alleging securities fraud and another brought by BP employees alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)– are still before Ellison’s court.
Separately, hundreds of cases involving economic loss, wrongful death and personal injury are currently before a federal judge in New Orleans.
The Macondo well blow-out led to the death of 11 men and was the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. U.S. authorities placed most of the blame on BP in a report issued on Wednesday.
The case is In re BP Shareholder Derivative Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 10-cv03447.
(Reporting by Moira Herbst in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
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