According to the docket posted, on January 29, 2001, the Court entered the Order signed by U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey II granting the defendants’ motions to dismiss the Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint. The action was dismissed, and the case was closed.
As summarized by the Company’s FORM 10-Q For The Quarterly Period Ended September 30, 2000, ten putative shareholder class action lawsuits were filed against the Company, and three of its former officers and two of its former directors on or after April 20, 2000. The lawsuits have since been consolidated in a single lawsuit that purports to be a class action filed on behalf of purchasers of the stock of the Company during the period from August 12, 1999 through March 30, 2000. Plaintiff alleges that defendants made false and misleading statements about the Company's financial condition, revenues, expenses, and results of operations, in violation of federal securities laws.
The original lawsuit charges Espire and certain officers of the Company, with violations of the federal securities laws. The lawsuit alleges that defendants issued a series of false and misleading statements during the Class Period concerning the Company's assets, revenues, income and earnings. The complaint specifically alleges that the Company's 1999 revenues and operating results were overstated through improper revenue recognition and the overstatement of receivables, causing the Company to have to restate its 1999 results. The complaint further alleges that certain insiders took advantage of their inside knowledge to sell significant amounts of their own Espire stock holdings for proceeds of over $2.8 million. On March 30, 2000, the market discovered for the first time defendants' deceptive accounting practices. By the close of trading on March 31, 2000, the Company's stock price had fallen almost 38%, to a close of $7.031.