Williams Cos., Tulsa, Okla., agreed to pay $55 million to some participants in the company's 401(k) plan to settle a lawsuit, according to a company statement. The plaintiffs — individuals who participated in Williams' 401(k) plan from July 24, 2000, through Dec. 12, 2002 — filed the complaint in 2002 against the company, its board of directors and members of Williams' investment and benefits committees. Participants alleged that defendants breached their fiduciary duties to plan participants invested in company stock by failing to disclose actual financial conditions of Williams and former subsidiary Williams Communications Group.
The settlement remains subject to approval of the U.S. District Court in Tulsa and other unspecified conditions, the statement said, noting that $50 million of the proposed settlement would be paid by insurance.
The 401(k) plan had $738 million in assets as of Sept. 30, 2004, according to data Williams submitted to Pensions & Investments. Williams' 401(k) plan remains under investigation by the U.S. Labor Department, the company's statement said.
Julie Gentz, a Williams spokeswoman, did not return a call by press time.