According to the Company’s FORM 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1997, on November 5, 1997, the court granted the motions to dismiss and entered judgment for defendants related to the above. The time for plaintiffs to file appeals has expired without appeal.
Previously, in July 1996, a purported class action lawsuit was filed in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the Company, its former chairman and chief executive officer, and a former president of the Company. The complaint sought certification of a class consisting of all persons (with certain exclusions) who purchased common stock of the Company between December 16, 1993 and April 17, 1996, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The complaint alleged that, during the
Class Period, defendants made certain false or misleading statements to the public concerning (1) earnings and funds from operations; (2) the Company's ability to maintain dividends at prior levels; (3) the alleged maintenance of dividends through borrowings rather than funds from operations; (4) the Company's ability to close a proposed acquisition; (5) the alleged purchase of certain properties from affiliates of the individual defendants at inflated prices; and (6) alleged improper accounting practices.
In October, 1996, a second purported class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the Company and Messrs. Fleming and Hodson, containing factual allegations and legal claims similar to those asserted in the prior purported class action. The plaintiffs in both actions seek unspecified monetary damages. The cases were consolidated and the Company filed motions to dismiss both lawsuits.