A U.S. District Court Judge in New Hampshire approved a partial settlement of a class-action securities fraud lawsuit against SkillSoft PLC, Nashua, N.H., related to its 2002 merger with SmartForce PLC, said Jeff Leibell, senior counsel with the law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann. The firm represents the $1.02 billion Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension and Relief Fund, Baton Rouge, a co-lead plaintiff with the $11.6 billion Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. Under the settlement, SkillSoft paid a total of $15.25 million in cash and will pay an additional $15.25 million plus interest in 2005. SkillSoft also agreed to adopt corporate governance reforms and to cooperate in prosecuting claims asserted against co-defendant auditor Ernst & Young. Litigation continues against Ernst & Young.
Neither Tommy Reeves, teachers' system general counsel, nor Osey "Skip" McGee Jr., executive director of the sheriffs' pension fund, returned calls seeking comment by press time.