New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, hired the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to represent the fund in legal action against BP over losses the $132.6 billion fund sustained following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico in April.
The fund will seek lead plaintiff status in any class-action lawsuit against the oil company, according to a news release from the office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the fund's sole trustee.
The fund now owns 14.5 million shares of BP stock, according to spokesman Robert Whalen and owned 19 million shares at the time of the explosion, according to the news release.
Four actions are pending against BP, one in California and three in Louisiana, Robert Whalen, a spokesman for the comptroller, said in a telephone interview.
Mr. DiNapoli believes the suits will be consolidated at some point and wants Cohen Milstein to manage the litigation on the state's behalf, Mr. Whalen said.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.