A class-action investor lawsuit against Harman International Industries led by the $7.6 billion Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System was resolved Wednesday, with the company agreeing to pay $28.25 million to settle claims that it misled investors about its personal navigation device business.
The class represented investors who purchased Harman stock between April 26, 2007, and Feb. 5, 2008. APERS Executive Director Gail Stone said in a statement that the settlement came “after a long, hard-fought litigation.” The case had been dismissed, but that dismissal was reversed in June 2015 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After that reversal, Harman petitioned the Supreme Court to revisit it, but was unsuccessful.
Plaintiff class lead counsel Steven J. Toll, who co-chairs Cohen Milstein's securities fraud and investor protection practice, said the appeals court found that statements made by company officials did not include “meaningful cautionary language” that would provide a so-called safe harbor from liability. “The appeals court acknowledged that statements cannot be considered meaningful when the warnings relate to risks that have already occurred or are misleading — an important victory for investors,” Mr. Toll said in a statement.
Samsung Electronics acquired Harman International Industries in March.