(Adds further details on settlement, quote from plaintiffs'
lawyer, background on case)
By Nate Raymond
Dec 23 Halliburton Co on Friday said it
had reached a $100 million settlement to resolve a long-running
securities fraud class action lawsuit against the oilfield
services provider that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
The deal resolves a lawsuit in federal court in Dallas
accusing Halliburton of misrepresenting its potential liability
in asbestos litigation, its expected revenue from certain
construction contracts and the benefits of a merger in 1998.
Halliburton said the company itself would pay $54 million of
the $100 million settlement, while its insurer would fund the
rest. The deal, which would be subject to court approval, has no
admission of liability, Halliburton said.
David Boies, a lawyer for the lead plaintiff Erica P. John
Fund Inc, in a statement welcomed the deal, which he said was a
"significant monetary recovery for the class members in this
hard fought, securities fraud class action."
The litigation has been pending for the Houston-based
company since 2002, and came after the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission launched a probe of Halliburton's accounting
for revenue on long-term construction projects.
Halliburton, whose chief executive during the period in
question was former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, settled
that SEC case in 2004 for $7.5 million, but the class action
litigation lived on for years to follow.
The class action lawsuit accused Halliburton of misleading
investors by understating asbestos liabilities, overstating
construction and engineering revenue and inflating the benefits
of a merger with Dresser Industries.
The case twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently
resulting in a ruling in 2014 that made it harder for investors
to band together to pursue securities fraud lawsuits against
publicly traded companies.
In July 2015, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn certified the
class of investors, but allowed them to pursue claims related to
just one of six dates they said Halliburton made disclosures
that corrected misleading statements.
Halliburton subsequently appealed that ruling, and had been
awaiting a decision prior to announcing Friday's agreement in
principle to settle the case.
The case is Erica P John Fund Inc et al v. Halliburton
Company et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas,
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Chris Reese
and Andrew Hay)