BFTA Obtains Final Approval of Weatherford Settlement of $120MNovember 4, 2015
The Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan granted final approval today of Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ $120 million settlement with Weatherford International Ltd. Judge Kaplan noted that “lead counsel did a good job litigating this case,” and that “lead counsel should be commended” for aggressively prosecuting the case in light of the then-pending risk of an adverse Halliburton decision.
Plaintiffs alleged that Weatherford knowingly or recklessly made false and misleading public statements between March 2, 2011 and July 24, 2012 that touted the illusory benefits of Weatherford's tax structure on its global effective tax rate and earnings per share. Plaintiffs further alleged that Weatherford concealed its known inadequate tax accounting procedures, resulting in three restatements in less than two years, which eliminated more than $900 million in overstated earnings.
Represented by BFTA partners Javier Bleichmar and Joseph A. Fonti, plaintiffs prosecuted the case by seeking the widest possible discovery from defendants and third parties. The firms’ strategy merged complex negotiations with substantial motion practice, which successfully compelled the production of all relevant information and generated more than 8 million pages of documents for review. BFTA and co-lead counsel took over 20 depositions, including the depositions of Weatherford’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, the Chairman of Weatherford’s Audit Committee, Weatherford’s former Chief Financial Officer, the former Chief Accounting Officer, and the former executive in charge of Weatherford’s income tax accounting.
Achieving this settlement required more than three years of intense litigation, including defeating defendants’ motion to dismiss in its entirety, obtaining class certification, completing fact discovery, filing four expert reports, and preparing for expert discovery and summary judgment.
Co-Lead Plaintiff Anchorage Police & Fire Retirement System praised the result. Ed Jarvis, Executive Director for Anchorage, concluded: “this excellent result is great news for the Municipality of Anchorage and the thousands of damaged Weatherford shareholders.”