BP has urged a federal judge of Houston to reject US shareholders’ rights to file a class action lawsuit for misleading them before and after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

Shareholders claim BP’s senior management reduced budgets and rejected employees’ safety issues, despite committing to making safety improvements, reported Bloomberg.

BP’s lawyers said in a filing: "Plaintiffs must demonstrate that the alleged misrepresentations were publicly known, that the stock traded in an efficient market, and that the relevant transaction took place between the time the misrepresentations were made and the time the truth was revealed."

However, the investors’ lawyer, Richard Mithoff, was confident of convincing the court and filing a class-action lawsuit.

Earlier in 2010, the company’s investors, led by the New York and Ohio pension funds, sued BP for violating US securities laws.

The company, in its earlier court filings, said "a commitment to safety is not a guarantee that no future accidents will occur."

"Shareholders claim BP’s senior management reduced budgets and rejected employees’ safety issues."

Earlier in June, two groups of investors urged federal judge Keith Ellison of Houston to permit them to sue BP.

A judge in March said investors who purchased BP shares on the US stock exchange were eligible to file a lawsuit, as the company’s shares declined by about 40% after the disaster in 2010.

The investors also sued BP ex-CEO, Tony Hayward, and Doug Suttles, ex-COO of BP’s exploration unit, for misleading them with false claims.

In November 2012, BP agreed to a $525m settlement deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for underestimating the intensity of the oil spill.

Image: The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster killed 11 rig workers.

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