A class-action lawsuit against BP charging it with misleading employees over earlier changes to its primary U.S. retirement program will go to trial.
A U.S. District Court judge in Houston denied BP's motion for summary judgment on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed in April 2016 by a then-current BP employee and a retiree. It said that when the energy company replaced its traditional defined benefit plan with a cash balance plan in 1989, it told participants that the cash balance was "comparable to and, in most cases, better than" prior benefits under the old plan, when, actually, certain employees' benefits were reduced.
Judge George C. Hanks Jr. said in his ruling Wednesday that he "concluded that genuine issues of material fact exist that must be resolved at trial," according to the filing.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of former employees of Standard Oil of Ohio, who were shifted into BP's traditional defined benefit plan and eventually its cash balance plan, after Sohio was acquired in 1987.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, the BP Retirement Accumulation Plan had $7.7 billion in assets, according to the plan's most recent Form 5500 filing.
BP officials could not be immediately reached for comment.