California A.G.'s Office Files Complaint Against BP in CPM Whistleblower Case

January 9, 2015

In a complaint filed this week, California Attorney General Kamala Harris added detailed allegations to a whistleblower case filed by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy against BP (formerly British Petroleum) that accuses the oil company of massive overcharging of California cities, counties, universities, and government agencies on purchases of natural gas over the course of the past decade.

The Attorney General’s Complaint confirms, as alleged in CPM’s lawsuit, that BP’s contracts with California contain explicit caps on the amount that BP can charge California for natural gas.  In violation of those contractual caps, BP has routinely charged California many times the amount that non-governmental customers were charged.

The Attorney General’s Complaint alleges that California accounted for 35 percent of BP’s customer profit margin, even though the state comprised only eight percent of their business by volume.  According to the Complaint, “‘Squeezing gold out of that goose’” is how one of Defendants’ employees closest to the DGS account described transacting with the state . . .”

The case was filed in 2012 by a former-employee of BP, under the California False Claims Act.  Niall P. McCarthy and Justin T. Berger are handling the case for CPM.  The whistleblower complaint can be found here.