October 10, 2008
Bernstein Liebhard LLP (“Bernstein Liebhard”) announced that on September 26, 2008, Judge Joel A. Pisano gave final approval to a U.S. settlement with a minimum cash value of $122.5 million in In re Royal Dutch/Shell Transport Securities Litigation, No. 04-374 (D.N.J.) (the “Action”). This settlement is in addition to a $350 million European settlement on behalf of a class of non-U.S. purchasers of Shell securities on non-U.S. exchanges (the “Non-U.S. Purchasers”), which the court-appointed lead plaintiffs and Bernstein Liebhard were, in the words of Judge Pisano, a “substantial factor” in bringing about.
Lead Plaintiffs in the Action are the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, which the Court appointed on June 30, 2004. The Court also appointed Bernstein Liebhard to be sole lead counsel.
In their complaint, the Lead Plaintiffs alleged that Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company (together, “Shell”) engaged in securities fraud related to their recategorization of billions of barrels of their oil and gas reserves beginning in January 2004.
The settlement covers all purchasers of Shell securities on U.S. exchanges and markets during the Class Period (April 8, 1999 through March 18, 2004), as well as all U.S. purchasers of Shell securities on non-U.S. exchanges and markets during the Class Period (together, the “Class”).
The settlement, which the Court preliminarily approved on June 17, 2008, includes the following elements:
- An $89.5 million cash benefit, plus interest from April 1, 2008 until Shell funds the settlement;
- Payment of all expenses related to implementing the Settlement Agreement, which already exceed $7.78 million;
- Payment of $30 million in counsel fees and $3 million in expenses (to be paid directly by Shell – over and above the amounts going directly to the Class);
- Potential additional relief of up to $60.5 million, should certain contingencies occur; and
- Unlimited “most favored nation” upside protection should Shell pay additional settlement relief in a related settlement in Europe (described below).
The potential benefit of the settlement to the Class, including all the elements listed above, is well over $180 million.
Moreover, Lead Plaintiffs and Bernstein Liebhard have obtained an additional cash payment of $28.342 million (plus interest from April 1, 2008) for the Non-U.S. Purchasers in the European settlement.
Bernstein Liebhard partner Stanley D. Bernstein stated that he was happy with the result: “The settlement, which Judge Pisano has now approved, provides fair compensation to the U.S. purchasers of Shell securities, while requiring Shell to pay additional compensation to the non-U.S. purchasers, as well. This is an outstanding result.” Said partner Jeffrey M. Haber: “The Class has every reason to be pleased.”
Bernstein Liebhard is one of the preeminent plaintiffs’ class action law firms in the country. It has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” for the last six years.