Two lawsuits have been filed against BP alleging violations of the Rackteer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute in connection with the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The first lawsuit, a class action filed on behalf of US residents affected by the oil spill, was filed last week and alleges that BP engaged in a scheme to secure profits by deceiving the public.
According to the complaint, BP committed a pattern of criminal acts, including bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud in order to deceive the public as to its ability to safely drill for oil and to contain oil in the event of a spill. Plaintiffs in the first suit are seeking compensatory relief, as well as injunctive relief requiring BP to comply with provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).
The second suit, filed June 28, alleges that BP has been involved in racketeering and corruption related to the BP claims payment process. According to the complaint, BP has been involved in corruption, wire fraud, mail fraud, unauthorized practice of law, violation of state insurances laws and regulations and other criminal activity in order to delay or reduce the payment of legitimate claims for damages. Plaintiffs are seeking damages and a writ of quo warranto ordering defendants to stop engaging in unauthorized practice of law and other criminal conduct.
From Jurist, June 29. Used with permission.