A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that one of two proposed class action lawsuits against BP tied to investor losses caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident can move forward.
According to Reuters, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a lawsuit brought by investors who purchased BP American depository shares during a 33 day period after the accident can file group claims.
The investors allege that BP “low balled” estimated initial spill flow rates, causing share prices to fall as the size of the spill became clear, Reuters said.
The suit is limited to investors who purchased BP American Depository Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange between April 26,2010 and May 28, 2010.
The claims could be worth as much as $2.5 billion and are scheduled to be heard by a Houston federal judge in January, Bloomberg noted.
A BP spokesperson told Reuters the company will defend itself against the “meritless” claims.
The court also found that investors who purchased shares two and a half years before the Deepwater accident can not pursue a class action lawsuit against BP.
The second group alleged that investors were erroneously led to believe the company’s safety management was more effective than they claim it proved to be, Reuters added.
Those shareholders also claimed that BP misled them about completing safety reforms following a deadly 2005 Texas refinery accident, Bloomberg noted.
The investors may still file suits against the company individually.
The ruling upheld a previous May 2014 decision made by U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison in Houston.
Former BP CEO Anthony Hayward and former COO Douglas Suttles were also listed as defendants.
Both men declined to comment on the matter, Reuters added.
In July, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama agreed Thursday to accept an $18.7 billion settlement from BP that will resolve the years long Deepwater Horizon case.
The agreement will cover claims from the five Gulf states as well as 400 local government entities, BP said.
The company was facing up to $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act penalties tied to the 2010 spill that killed 11 people and caused the largest oil spill in U.S history.
BP is also facing claims made by over 100 foreign pension funds that lost hundreds of millions of dollars on BP shares purchased on European exchanges during the same April to May 2010 window, Bloomberg added.
No trial date has been set yet, but the suit will be heard in the U.S. under English law.