NEW YORK (July 1, 2015) — Labaton Sucharow LLP announced today a proposed $120 million settlement with one of the largest global providers of products and services for the oil and gas industry, Weatherford International Ltd. (Weatherford). The Firm served as co-lead counsel for the class on behalf of lead plaintiff Sacramento City Employees' Retirement System in Freedman v. Weatherford International, Ltd. No. 1:12-cv-2121 (S.D.N.Y.).
"Sacramento City Employees' Retirement System is committed to prosecuting securities class actions in order to protect our members' assets, and we are very pleased with the successful result reached for investors," said Chief Investment Officer John P. Colville for the City of Sacramento, who was instrumental in the mediation process to achieve this recovery.
Represented by Labaton Sucharow partners Joel H. Bernstein, Ira A. Schochet, and Eric J. Belfi, and co-counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that Weatherford knowingly or recklessly filed false financial statements during the class period between March 2, 2011 and July 24, 2012, touting illusory benefits of Weatherford's tax structure and hiding the company's inadequate tax accounting procedures. By the end of the class period, Weatherford had issued three restatements, and its failure to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) resulted in overstated earnings of more than $900 million.
"This was a very hard fought case," said Schochet, "and we are extremely gratified that in the end we were able to achieve this significant settlement for all class members who were injured."
Aided by experts in, among other complex areas, corporate tax accounting, Labaton Sucharow pursued the class' claims by seeking the widest possible amount of discovery. The Firm repeatedly challenged defendants, by motion practice when necessary, to produce all relevant information. This ultimately generated more than 1.3 million documents for review and resulted in over 20 depositions.
Achieving this settlement required over three years of intense litigation, including defeating defendants' motion to dismiss, obtaining class certification, completing fact discovery, filing four expert reports, and preparing for expert discovery and summary judgment. The Firm achieved the settlement on June 30, 2015.