Howard v. Liquidity Services Inc.

Settled: Pending Court Approval

On June 21, 2018, the court preliminarily approved a $17 million settlement to resolve this securities class action.

Labaton Sucharow serves as co-lead counsel in this securities class action against Liquidity Services, Inc. (Liquidity Services), an online auction marketplace that provides its customers with a platform to buy and sell wholesale, surplus, and salvage goods such as industrial machinery, equipment, materials, vehicles, and inventory.

The complaint alleges that Liquidity Services misrepresented its financial condition between February 1, 2012 and May 7, 2014 (the class period) through materially false and misleading statements related to, among other things, its current and future profitability, the performance of recent acquisitions, and the adverse effects of a decline in business with one of its major clients, the U.S. Department of Defense.

During the class period, Liquidity Services touted its growth and profitability based on two pillars, growth through sustained margins and growth through the company’s acquisition strategy. In reality, Liquidity Services’ margins and revenues were deteriorating and it was having serious problems integrating its acquisitions. The complaint alleges that as a result of these problems, on a number of occasions Liquidity Services reported earnings issues, lower projections, and poor results, which drove down the stock price. The company blamed various factors for its disappointing results, including volatility in the economic environment, weak commodity prices, slower than expected roll-outs of new client programs, and the effect high unemployment and increased payroll taxes had on its customers, but failed to disclose the extent of the issues with its two growth pillars in both its retail and commercial capital assets divisions.

On March 31, 2016, the court denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss, specifically regarding alleged misrepresentations of the financial performance of Liquidity Services’ retail division.

On December 21, 2016, the court denied the defendants’ motion for reconsideration of the complaint. The defendants submitted declarations from two confidential witnesses purportedly disavowing allegations in the complaint, and claimed two other confidential witnesses disavowed allegations during depositions. In the lead plaintiffs’ opposition, the Firm and co-lead counsel submitted overwhelming support from 20 confidential witnesses supporting the allegations in the complaint. We also demonstrated that the four confidential witnesses the defendants’ relied on either did not truly recant (they mostly supported the complaint allegations) or were shown to have motivations to alter their stories. The judge ruled within two hours of the defendants’ reply, denying their motion.

On September 6, 2017, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell certified the class and denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on reliance.

Submit Claim Form

If you purchased or otherwise acquired the publicly traded common stock of Liquidity Services, Inc. during the period from February 1, 2012 through May 7, 2014, inclusive, and were damaged thereby, you may be entitled to receive money from the proposed settlement. To be eligible for a payment, you must submit a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator so that it is postmarked or electronically submitted no later than November 3, 2018.

Settlement Hearing

A Settlement Hearing will be held on October 5, 2018 before the Honorable Chief Judge Beryl Howell at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 22A at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

The case is Howard v. Liquidity Services Inc., No. 14-cv-1183 (D.D.C.). The lead plaintiffs are Newport News Employees’ Retirement Fund and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Labaton Sucharow represents Newport News Employees' Retirement Fund. The defendant is Liquidity Services, Inc.