As reported by the Company’s FORM 10-K For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2005, the Company settled the lead plaintiffs’ remaining individual claims for a confidential amount, which was paid by the Company’s directors' and officers' insurance carrier. Accordingly, the district court entered a final judgment dismissing the claims with prejudice on February 24, 2006.
According to a press release dated September 15, 2005, finding that a pleading of fraud-on-the-market did not support class certification in the absence of evidence showing market efficiency, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court's denial of class certification in a putative class action against an electronic-order processing company. The district court denied the plaintiffs' motion for certification, finding that in the absence of expert testimony regarding market efficiency, they could not take advantage of the class-wide reliance provided by the fraud-on-the-market theory (see 2 S.Cl.Act.Rep. 13-15, Aug. 15, 2004). Certification requires more than pleading fraud- on-the-market.
As previously reported by the Company’s FORM 10-Q/A For the Quarterly Period Ended March 31, 2005, in April 2001, the Court consolidated the lawsuits, and on July 26, 2002, plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint (“CAC”). The Company filed a motion to dismiss the CAC on or about September 9, 2002. On July 22, 2003, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to dismiss. On September 2, 2003, defendants filed an answer to the CAC. Plaintiffs then commenced discovery. On September 12, 2003, plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, and on February 17, 2004, the Company filed its opposition. On July 1, 2004, the Court denied plaintiffs’ motion for certification. On September 8, 2004, the Fifth Circuit granted plaintiffs’ petition for permission to appeal the denial of class certification. Briefing on the appeal is complete, and oral argument has been set for June 6, 2005.
The original complaint asserts that the defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The complaint also alleges that the statements made in the Prospectus for ASD's IPO that ASD had a well-developed business model and was providing high quality and comprehensive outsourcing services to companies selling their goods over the Internet were materially false or misleading.