Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the group that is assisting the investors in the suit. This version has been corrected.

Suit alleges BP cut back on safety before oil spill

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 1:03 PM

The New York State comptroller, the Ohio state pension funds and other large investors have alleged that BP made cost-saving cutbacks in its safety operations prior to last year's major oil spill and that it disregarded safety warnings from its own managers.

The new documents in a securities fraud class action suit allege that the company "terminated" Curtis Jackson, then a senior manager for Gulf of Mexico operations, and Phil Dziubinski, a senior safety official at BP Alaska who warned of worker fatigue from extensive overtime.

Dziubinski's quarrel with BP was described earlier in the Wall Street Journal, which said he and BP had reached a confidential settlement.

The new filing also says that Kevin Lacy, described as BP's senior vice president for drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, resigned in late 2009 "because of disagreements with BP over its lack of commitment to process safety." The lawsuit says that Lacy had been recruited from Chevron to improve BP's drilling protocols.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company would not comment on pending litigation.

The investors, represented by the firms Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll of Washington and Berman DeValerio of Boston, produced what they said was an internal BP document that said: "It's become apparent that process-safety major hazards and risks are not fully understood by engineering or line operating personnel. Insufficient awareness is leading to missed signals that precede incidents and response after incidents, both of which increases the potential for and severity of process-safety related incidents."

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