Settlement of Strathclyde Pension Fund v. Bank OZK, et al.
No. 4:18-cv-00793-DPM (E.D. Ark.)
Lead Plaintiff and class representative, Strathclyde Pension Fund, reached a settlement on behalf of the certified class in this action, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The settlement provides for the payment of $45 million for the benefit of eligible Class Members. No Class Members objected to the settlement. Chief Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. approved the settlement and issued final judgment on September 23, 2022.
Strathclyde is an institutional investor based in Scotland that provides retirement benefits to more than 250,000 public employees including police, fire, municipal workers, and university employees. Strathclyde is a top 20 U.K. pension fund, and is a top 50 European pension fund. In January 2019, Judge Marshall appointed Strathclyde as Lead Plaintiff in this action. Following three years of vigorous litigation, in January 2022, Judge Marshall certified the Class, appointed Strathclyde as class representative, and appointed Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as class counsel.
Strathclyde alleged that the price of Bank OZK common shares was artificially inflated during the class period – reaching all-time highs – as a result of defendants’ statements to investors that the bank’s credit quality metrics and levels of “nonperforming loans” were the “best ever” and “record-setting.” Strathclyde alleged those statements were false because defendants had failed to include as “nonperforming” two $30+ million problem loans issued by the bank in 2007 and 2008. Strathclyde alleged that Class Members were harmed when, in October 2018, the price of Bank OZK shares plummeted following reports that Bank OZK incurred a $45.5 million charge off on the two subject loans, finally revealing their “nonperforming” status. Strathclyde alleged violations of §10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 against Bank OZK and its Chairman/CEO, George Gleason, and violation of §20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against Mr. Gleason.
The Class consists of all Persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of Bank OZK between February 19, 2016 and October 18, 2018, inclusive. Excluded from the Class are: (i) defendant Bank OZK, its parents, subsidiaries, and any other entity owned or controlled by Bank OZK; (ii) defendant George Gleason; (iii) all other executive officers and directors of Bank OZK, or any of its parents, subsidiaries, or other entities owned or controlled by Bank OZK; (iv) all immediate family members of the foregoing individuals, including grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, and step relations of similar degree; and (v) all predecessors and successors in interest or assigns of any of the foregoing. Also excluded from the Class is any Person who would otherwise be a Member of the Class but who validly and timely requested exclusion in accordance with the requirements set by the Court in connection with the settlement.
If you have any questions about the settlement or the litigation, please contact the Shareholder Relations Department at 1-800-449-4900.