In re BP Securities Litigation, case no. 10-MDL-2185 (S.D. Tex.)
In April, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig leased and operated by BP, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 men on board. Although BP initially denied that any oil was leaking from the Macondo well, the sinking of the rig led to the largest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and was one of the largest industrial catastrophes the world had ever experienced. BP set aside $40 billion to cover the costs of the spill and more than $90 billion in stock market capitalization was wiped out.
Block & Leviton is counsel to the public pension funds of Ohio, which were appointed co-lead plaintiffs with the New York State Common Retirement Fund. The shareholder class action charges that BP misrepresented to its investors the steps BP was purportedly taking to improve its process safety after the industrial disasters at BP's Texas City refinery in 2005 and the Alaskan pipe line leak in 2006. The lawsuit also charges that BP intentionally understated the known rate of oil flowing from the Macando well after the rig exploded.
In February 2012 the Court granted in part and denied in part BP’s motions to dismiss the class action complaint. Lead Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding additional specific facts to bolster their claims of securities fraud. Defendants’ renewed motion to dismiss was denied in substantial part in February 2013. The parties are proceeding with class certification briefing and discovery is ongoing.
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, et al. v. BP plc, et al, case no. 1:12-cv-01291 (S.D.Tex.)
Block & Leviton has filed a parallel suit against BP plc and certain of its affiliates, officers and directors for violations of Ohio statutory and common law on behalf of the Ohio Retirement Funds. The claims arise out of the same operative facts as the BP Securities Litigation matter, but pertain to the Ohio Retirement Funds' purchases of BP's ordinary shares, which trade on the London Stock Exchange. The case was initially filed in Ohio State Court, but was removed to federal court by Defendants and currently is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Behringer Harvard REIT I, case no. 3:12-cv-03772 (N.D.Tex.)
Block & Leviton was recently appointed lead counsel on behalf of those who invested in the Behringer Harvard REIT I. The action charges that the REIT's management misled investors as to the true value of their shares and breached their fiduciary duties in managing the REIT. In appointing Block & Leviton, the Court was "convinced that the [Lead Plaintiffs'] chosen counsel [Block & Leviton] have the skill and knowledge that will enable them to prosecute this action effectively and expeditiously." Briefing on the defendants’ motions to dismiss was completed in April 2013.
FriendFinder Networks, Inc.
Block & Leviton has initiated a lawsuit against FriendFinder Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFN) ("FFN" or the "Company") for making untrue statements in its IPO. On May 11, 2011, FFN held an initial public offering of 5.0 million shares of common stock (the "May Offering"). According to the offering documents, there were to be 26.7 million shares of FFN common stock outstanding after the May Offering, 20.9 million of which were subject to a 180-day lock-up period (the "Restricted Shares"). Contrary to these representations, a material number of Restricted Shares were allegedly sold on the day the stock commenced trading. FFN's stock price has dropped precipitously since the May Offering, falling over 20% in the first day of trading alone. At the time the lock-up period expired, the stock had fallen to less than $2.00 per share.
The lawsuit, captioned Greenfield Children’s Partnership v. FriendFinder Networks, Inc. et al., 9:11-cv-81270 (S.D.Fla.), alleges violations of Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 on behalf of investors who purchased common stock in, or traceable to, the May Offering (the "Class"). A copy of the complaint is available here.
Gypsum Board Antitrust Litigation, case no. 13-MD-2437 (E.D. Pa.)
Block & Leviton has filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against certain manufacturers of gypsum board for price fixing. Beginning in at least September 2011, the Defendants conspired to increase and artificially maintain the price for gypsum board in the United States. The suit is on behalf of a class of consumers that purchased gypsum board during the relevant period who, as a result of Defendants' misconduct, overpaid on their purchases. Plaintiffs in this action have asserted claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and Section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15 for injunctive relief, and under applicable state law for damages and other relief provided by law. The Firm has been appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs. Discovery is currently underway. A copy of the complaint is available here. If you would like to learn more about the pending case or have any information relevant to our on-going investigation, please contact Whitney Street at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIBOR, case no. 13-cv-407 (S.D.N.Y.)
Block & Leviton has filed suit in New York federal court against a number of large banks for manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). LIBOR, which is published under the authority of the British Bankers’ Association (the “BBA”), is defined by the BBA as the rate at which an individual contributor panel bank could borrow funds, were it to do so by asking for and then accepting interbank offers in reasonable market size, just prior to 11 a.m. London time. Beginning in 2008, the Defendants, who were members of the LIBOR U.S. Dollar (“USD”) panel during the relevant period, conspired to increase and artificially maintain the 6-month and 12-month USD LIBOR rates. The purpose of the conspiracy was to inflate the amount that borrowers paid on their adjustable rate mortgages and loans, the majority of which are indexed to the 6-month or 12-month USD LIBOR rates. As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, borrowers in the U.S. have overpaid billions of dollars on their adjustable rate loans.
Plaintiffs have asserted claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and Section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15. The case is on behalf of a class of all persons and entities throughout the United States who had an adjustable rate loan mortgage or loan indexed to six-month or twelve-month USD LIBOR that was set or adjusted during the period January 2008 through the present. If you would like to learn more about the pending case, please contact Whitney Street at email@example.com. You can click here to review a copy of the complaint.
Lithium Ion Rechargeable Batteries, case no. 13-md-02420 (N.D.Cal.)
Block & Leviton has filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against certain manufacturers of Lithium Ion Rechargeable Batteries for allegedly fixing prices. Beginning in 2002, Defendants allegedly conspired to increase and artificially maintain the price for Lithium Ion Rechargeable Batteries in the United States. As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, purchasers of Lithium Ion Rechargeable Batteries and products containing these batteries overpaid on their purchases. Plaintiffs have asserted claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and Section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15, for injunctive relief and under applicable state law for damages and other relief provided by law. A copy of the complaint is available here. If you would like to learn more about the pending case or have any information relevant to our on-going investigation, please contact Whitney Street at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowe's Home Centers
Block & Leviton has brought class action lawsuits in a number of states around the country charging that Lowe's misclassifies workers who install products as independent contractors rather than employees. These lawsuits allege that Lowe's controls and directs the installers' services and that the installations are part of Lowe's usual course of business. The actions seek to have Lowe's compensate its installers for the taxes, benefits, wages and insurance that Lowe's would have paid or provided, had these installers been properly classified as employees.
The Home Depot
Block & Leviton has brought class action lawsuits in a number of states around the country charging that Home Depot misclassifies workers who install products as independent contractors rather than employees. These lawsuits allege that Home Depot controls and directs the installers' services and that the installations are part of Home Depot's usual course of business. The actions seek to have Home Depot compensate its installers for the taxes, benefits, wages and insurance that Home Depot would have paid or provided, had these installers been properly classified as employees.
Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc., case no. 1:13-cv-1487 (E.D.Va.)
In December 2013, Block & Leviton filed a class action complaint alleging that Lumber Liquidators sold products to consumers in violation of federal and state laws. More specifically, the lawsuit arises out of Lumber Liquidators’ scheme to import into the United States, and to falsely warrant, advertise, and sell, Chinese wood flooring that fails to comply with the formaldehyde standards and the Lacey Act. Contrary to its direct representations to consumers, Lumber Liquidators manufactures, sells, and distributes Chinese wood flooring that emits and off-gasses excessive levels of formaldehyde, which is categorized as a known human carcinogen by the United States National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Although Lumber Liquidators made repeated, detailed representations that its flooring complies with strict formaldehyde standards, the lawsuit alleges that the toxic formaldehyde emissions from the Company’s Chinese wood flooring products are well above the maximum permissible limits set by those standards at the time of purchase.
Moreover, the lawsuit alleges that, contrary to its direct representations to consumers, Lumber Liquidators also manufactures, sells, and distributes wood flooring that is illegally sourced through China from other countries (including Russia), threatening critical habitat and endangered species, in violation of the Lacey Act. Lumber Liquidators’ repeated violations of the Lacey Act are detailed in a report entitled “Liquidating the Forests,” released by the Environmental Investigation Agency in October 2013. Moreover, the Company’s headquarters in Toano, Virginia and another corporate location in neighboring Richmond, Virginia, were raided by United States Federal Special Agents acting on behalf of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Justice in September 2013. According to various news sources, the raid seized evidence that Lumber Liquidators is importing wood products harvested from forests in eastern Russia (which are then processed across the border in China) that are the habitat of critically endangered wildlife species, including the Siberian tiger, of which there are an estimated 450 remaining in the world.