BP faces August 2014 trial on shareholders' Gulf spill claims

Tue Mar 5, 2013 6:41pm EST

* BP accused of misleading on accident responsiveness

* ADS investors suing BP; ex-CEO Hayward

* Separate trial underway to assign blame for spill

March 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. civil trial has been set for Aug. 25, 2014, regarding accusations that BP Plc committed fraud by misleading shareholders before and after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill about its ability to respond to the accident.

The jury trial was scheduled by U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison in Houston on Tuesday.

Shareholders led by the New York State Common Retirement Fund and four Ohio pension funds claimed to lose up to 40 percent of their investments within six weeks of the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

The accident killed 11 people and caused the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

In February 2012, Ellison limited the lawsuit to claims by investors who bought BP's American depositary receipts on U.S. exchanges. BP has denied fraud.

The lawsuit also names as defendants former BP Chief Executive Anthony Hayward and former Chief Operating Officer for Exploration and Production Douglas Suttles. Claims against current Chief Executive Robert Dudley were dismissed.

A separate civil trial began on Feb. 25 in New Orleans to apportion blame for the accident among BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd and cement services provider Halliburton Co.

The U.S. government, Gulf Coast states and other plaintiffs are seeking to recover billions of dollars for economic losses, environmental damages and other harm in that case.

The case is In re: BP Plc Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 10-md-02185.

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