Mich. man sues, wants Chevron stock at '04 price

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A former lawyer intrigued by the global demand for energy says he chose to invest $100,000 in oil giant Chevron Corp. back in 2004, a smart stock bet that now would have doubled seven years later.

But Perry Christy has a big problem: He says Chevron's stock agent never deducted money from his bank account. As a result, he has no records to show he actually owns a certain number of shares.

So Christy, 69, is suing Chevron and Mellon Investor Services and seeking an extraordinary remedy. He wants a federal judge to declare that he should be credited with buying the stock at a June 2004 price, plus any additional shares that would have piled up by reinvesting dividends. Then he'll pay $100,000.

Based on the terrific rise in San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron's stock, it would be like winning the lottery—and then buying a ticket.

"There was some kind of mix-up on the day I placed the order," Christy insisted in an interview at his home in the Detroit suburb of Northville. "Whether mechanical or electronic, I don't think we'll ever know. But it's their screw-up. When you deal with any large bureaucracy, people are focused on their own narrow niche."

After more than a year in court, Chevron and Mellon smell a scam and want the case dismissed, even suggesting that Christy's story of a genuine yet botched investment simply is a lie.

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