Wednesday, September 06, 2006

At Least the Stay in the Derivative Cases Will Be Lifted

According to an article in today's Detroit News , the securities class action pending against Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC), certain current and former officers of the company, and the company's auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, has been dismissed.

The Visteon litigation was pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan before Judge Robert H. Cleland.

A copy of Judge Cleland's opinion is available here.

The Visteon litigation was filed in February 2005 after Visteon restated earnings, claiming company officials hadn't disclosed the risks of being spun off by Ford Motor Co. According to the article, plaintiffs alleged that Visteon "had no chance to be profitable and failed to disclose it was hampered by money-losing businesses inherited from Ford, price reductions promised to its former parent company and high labor costs."

The Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi is lead plaintiff in the Visteon litigation while Baron & Budd, P.C. is lead counsel and VanOverbeke, Michaud, & Timmony, PC. is liaison counsel.

On a side note - listed as "Additional Plaintiff's Counsel" on the Visteon complaint is the Baton Rouge firm of LeBlanc & Waddell, LLP. Baron & Budd and the LeBlanc firm maintain a joint website devoted to securities litigation, here.

As previously discussed by The D&O Diary, Baron & Budd and LeBlanc & Waddell are part of the growing number of firms known for their work in asbestos or tobacco litigation that have branched out into securities litigation.

Also, as previously disclosed by Visteon in this 10-K, two derivative lawsuits were filed in the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan following the company's 2005 restatement. Those matters had been stayed pending resolution of the motion to dismiss in the securities litigation.

Daily Trivia 1: The building that houses VanOverbeke, Michaud, & Timmony, PC. was originally built in 1872 for Grace Whitney-Evans, a daughter of Detroit lumber baron, David Whitney. The house was later rented to Joseph L. Hudson founder of the Detroit department store chain, The J.L. Hudson Company.

Daily Trivia 2: Joseph L. Hudson is credited with creating new department store policies including the maintenance of full inventories to permit immediate delivery and liberal return privileges for customers. He was also one of the first in the retail industry to attach visible prices to merchandise.

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