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BP shareholder sues company executives over Gulf oil spill

A BP shareholder from the United States is suing company executives over ignoring safety issues prior to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and subsequent Gulf oil spill.

In this May 6, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Navy, the Gulf oil spill is seen from an aerial view at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Mobile, Ala.

AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael B. Watkins

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A BP shareholder has filed suit against the corporation's top executives because of the offshore rig disaster that has led to the growing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Filed in federal court in New Orleans on Friday, the lawsuit by Pennsylvania resident Katherine Firpo accuses Anthony B. Hayward, the chief executive officer of BP PLC, and other executives of the London-based corporation, of ignoring safety issues on rigs such as the Deepwater Horizon, which exploded on April 20.

And she accuses them of pursuing cost-cutting measures at the expense of safety, while lobbying government authorities to decrease safety regulation. The lawsuit says the rig accident and the leak it caused will cost BP tens of billions of dollars.

The suit is a "shareholder derivative" suit, meaning it was filed by a shareholder on the company's behalf. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks court-ordered changes in BP's corporate governance, and an order that the executives pay monetary damages.

A BP spokesman declined comment Monday.

The lawsuit is among a flurry of lawsuits filed by rig workers or their families and by fishermen and business owners claiming economic damage.


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