BP is again the center of attention in a lawsuit alleging the company lied on applications, this time regarding fraudulent conduct against the State of Minnesota. The Minnesota Commerce Department has sued BP PLC, alleging that the company has fraudulently collected more than $25 million from a state fund. It’s contended in the lawsuit that BP violated the Minnesota False Claims Act, which carries the potential of triple damages.
Minnesota state agencies have worked for decades to clean up more than 18,000 leaking underground petroleum tanks. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency handles the technical work and the Commerce Department oversees reimbursements from the Petrofund. From 1988 until now, BP submitted 1,407 applications to the fund for cleanups of underground storage tanks around the state. In each case, the suit claims that BP was required to say whether it had insurance to cover the cleanup. In every case, it appears BP had insurance coverage that it concealed from the five-member Petrofund board – presumably, so the company could collect from the State’s fund as well as collect insurance proceeds from its insurance carrier. Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says that BP “lied on their applications.”
The lawsuit is another in a long line of similar suits against petroleum companies for double dipping into state underground storage tank cleanup funds while also collecting insurance proceeds for the same costs. The complaint accuses BP of misrepresentation, fraud and unjust enrichment. The claimed damages dwarf that of other companies investigated in Minnesota. Predictably, BP has denied wrongdoing and claims that its dealings with the storage tank funds have been proper. We will see how “true” those statements turn out to be.
Source: Star Tribune
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.