CPM Files Whistleblower Case, Alleging BP Overcharged California for Natural Gas, California Attorney General Joins Lawsuit
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has joined 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. As alleged in the lawsuit, BP is the exclusive supplier of natural gas to the State of California’s Natural Gas Services (“NGS”) program, through which California governmental entities buy hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas every year. 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.
“‘Squeezing gold out of that goose’” is how one of Defendants’ employees closest to the DGS account described transacting with the state . . .” California taxpayers were ultimately overcharged massively. The complaint alleges that this out of state oil corporation used California taxpayers as an ATM machine.
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. CPM is co-counsel on this case with The Steidley Law Firm, James Tynan Kelly PC and Harlan E. Murphy, PLLC, based in Houston, Texas. When the action became public it made national headlines.
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy specializes in prosecuting healthcare, financial, defense contractor, and other Qui Tam whistleblower cases.