Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit Thursday against BP PLC on behalf of four of the state's pension funds.
The lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland, claims “BP misrepresented information about its safety practices and procedures before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April of 2010,” according to a news release from Mr. DeWine's office.
It also alleges BP executives knowingly made false and misleading statements about the size of the oil spill.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the $73 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the $62.6 billion Ohio State Teachers' Retirement System, the $12.3 billion Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund and the $9.9 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System, all based in Columbus.
The four Ohio funds and the $140.3 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, had filed a federal lawsuit in January 2011 over losses resulting from the oil well explosion. In a Feb. 13 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston dismissed claims in that suit involving BP ordinary shares as “not being covered by federal securities law.”
Judge Ellison did let stand class claims involving purchases of BP's New York-traded American depository shares.
The new state lawsuit relates to those ordinary shares, according to the news release.
Lisa Hackley, Mr. DeWine's spokeswoman, did not have further information, and a phone call to BP was not returned by press time.