According to the complaint, this action alleges that the defendants intentionally and/or deliberately recklessly failed to properly and safely maintain BP’s oil pipelines in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. On March 2, 2006, a massive leak releasing more than 200,000 gallons of oil occurred in BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil pipeline. Criminal and civil investigations by federal and state agencies determined that the lead was due to internal corrosion caused by bacteria. BP’s own internal investigation revealed that the use of a “smart pig” – an industry-recognized good practice – could have discovered the internal corrosion. The Department of Transportation issued a Corrective Action Order on March 15, 2006 requiring BP Exploration Alaska to (“BPXA”) to take remedial action, including running a smart pig in the Prudhoe Bay oil pipelines. Defendants assured BP investors that its corrosion monitoring was “aggressive” and “robust.” Despite the severity of the March 2006 oil spill – the worst in the history of North Slope of Alaska – BP persisted with its inadequate maintenance of the Prudhoe Bay pipelines. On August 7, 2006, before the stock market opened, BP announced that BPXA was completely shutting down production in Prudhoe Bay after a second lead and resultant oil spill from another corroded pipeline occurred. A Congressional investigation on April 20, 2007 revealed that extensive cost cutting at BPXA may have contributed significantly to the pipeline corrosion that caused the March 2006 spill. BP pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the federal Clean Water Action on November 29, 2007 and agreed to pay a $20 million fine in settlement of federal and state criminal violations in connection with the March and August 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spills. During the Class Period, the Defendants had actual knowledge of, or recklessly disregarded, material facts and failed to disclose material information to investors concerning the maintenance and operating condition of the Prudhoe Bay pipeline. As a direct result of the market learning of the Defendants’ wrongdoing, the price of BP shares declined and plaintiff and the class suffered a loss on their investment in BP.
On February 29, 2008, a similar, purported class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, titled Bankinter Gestion De Activos, S.G.I.I.C., et al. v. BP P.L.C., et al., case number 08-CV-01458. On June 12, 2008, this 2008 filing was consolidated with the existing 2007 case.
On April 17, 2008, Judge R. Gary Klausner granted the motion for consolidation, the motion for appointment as lead plaintiff and approval of selection of lead counsel. The Institutional Investors Group is appointed lead plaintiff and Labaton Sucharow LLP was appointed lead counsel. On May 12, 2008, the lead plaintiff filed a Consolidated Class Action Complaint. On June 19, 2008, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
On July 24, 2008, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint. On February 27, 2009, Judge Marsha J. Pechman signed the Order granting in part and denying in part the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. According to the Order, Defendants BP America, Inc. and Walter Massey are dismissed from this action, and Plaintiffs’ claim for violations of § 18(a) is dismissed as time-barred. The Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately pled 10(b)/1 0b-5 violations by Defendant BPXA, and adequately pled control person liability pursuant to § 20(a) as regards Defendants BP plc, John Browne, Steven Marshall and Maureen Johnson.
On July 1, 2009, Judge Marsha J. Pechman issued the Order partially granting and partially denying the defendants’ motion for reconsideration from the February 27, 2009 Order on the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The defendants’ motion for interlocutory appeal is granted. On November 10, 2010, a minute entry was filed. The case is remains stayed pending the appeal.
On June 29, 2011, the Court entered the Opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals. The action is reversed and remanded. The Mandate was entered in the court docket on August 5, 2011.
On September 22, 2011, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Consolidated Complaint, but on October 14, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a motion to filed a second amended complaint.
On November 10, 2011, this Court held a teleconference with the parties to discuss the timetable for considering Plaintiffs’ motion to file a second amended complaint (Dkt. No. 175) and Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 171). The parties stipulated that Plaintiffs may amend their complaint, and that the second amended complaint (Dkt. No. 174-1) will now serve as the operative complaint in this case. On December 2, 2011, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint.
On March 14, 2012, Judge Marsha J. Pechman signed the Order granting the defendants' Motion to Dismiss and dismissed this action with prejudice.
On February 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit revived this action by partially reversing the District Court's above dismissal of the complaint.
On December 7, 2015, the District Court issued an Order dismissing this case with prejudice. On January 5, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Notice appealing the decision of the District Court to dismiss this case. On July 31, 2018, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their appeal.