$146.25 Million Recovered for Duke Energy Investors
On November 2, 2015, United States District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. granted final approval of a $146.25 million settlement on behalf of plaintiffs in the securities class action Nieman v. Duke Energy Corp. The recovery is the largest ever in North Carolina for a case involving securities fraud, and one of the five largest recoveries in the Fourth Circuit.
The settlement resolves accusations that defendants misled investors regarding Duke Energy’s future leadership following its merger with Progress Energy, Inc., and specifically, their premeditated coup to oust William D. Johnson (CEO of Progress Energy) and replace him with Duke Energy’s then-CEO, John Rogers.
News coverage regarding the settlement highlighted that it was an outstanding result for Duke Energy investors. Duke University securities law professor James Cox was quoted by ABC News describing the settlement as “off the charts.” As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, lawsuits such as this one, “which typically allege that boards sold for too little, failed to disclose key points about the deal, or both, have long been common but rarely yield any additional money for investors.”
In approving the settlement, the court noted that “plaintiffs’ attorneys were able [to] achieve the big success early” in the case and obtained an “excellent result.” The “extraordinary” settlement was because of “good lawyers . . . doing their good work.”
Nieman v. Duke Energy Corp., No. 3:12-cv-00456-MOC-DSC (W.D.N.C.)