The original complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company's business, operations and future prospects. The Class Period begins on October 23, 1997 the date on which Household International announced its third-quarter 1997 results. The Class Period ends on August 14, 2002, the day Household International announced it would restate its prior eight years financials, because it had overstated its net income by $386 million during that period. Specifically, Household International said it would revise the way it had accounted for its MasterCard/Visa co-branding and affinity card relationships, as well as a credit-card marketing agreement with a third party. As a result of the Defendants' false and misleading statements, Household International securities traded at artificially high levels during the Class Period.
According to the Company’s for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, a number of these actions allege violations of Federal securities laws were filed between August and October 2002, and seek to recover damages in respect of allegedly false and misleading statements about our common stock. These legal actions have been consolidated into a single purported class action, Jaffe v. Household International, Inc., et al., No. 02 C 5893 (N.D. Ill., filed August 19, 2002), and a consolidated and amended complaint was filed on March 7, 2003. On December 3, 2004, the court signed the parties’ stipulation to certify a class with respect to the claims brought under § 10 and § 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The parties stipulated that plaintiffs will not seek to certify a class with respect to the claims brought under § 11 and § 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 in this action or otherwise.
The amended complaint asserts claims under the Federal securities laws, on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired our securities between October 23, 1997 and October 11, 2002, arising out of alleged false and misleading statements in connection with our collection, sales and lending practices, the 2002 state settlement agreement referred to above, the restatement and the HSBC merger. The Court dismissed all claims against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co. The Court also dismissed certain claims alleging strict liability for alleged misrepresentation of material facts based on statute of limitations grounds. The claims that remain against some or all of the defendants essentially allege the defendants knowingly made a false statement of a material fact in conjunction with the purchase or sale of securities, that the plaintiffs justifiably relied on such statement, the false statement(s) caused the plaintiffs’ damages, and that some or all of the defendants should be liable for those alleged statements.
On December 9, 2002, the Court consolidated the cases. On December 18, 2002, the Court appointed Glickenhaus & Co., PACE Industry Union-Management Pension Fund, and International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 132 Pension Plan as Lead Plaintiffs and approved its selection of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as Lead Counsel.
On March 13, 2003, Lead Plaintiffs filed a Corrected Amended Complaint (“Amended Complaint”) for violations of the federal securities laws, which included claims for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and §§11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933. The named defendants in the Amended Complaint were Household International, Inc.; Officer Defendants William Aldinger, David Schoenholz and Gary Gilmer; Director Defendants Robert Darnall, Gary Dillon, John Edwardson, Mary Evans, J. Dudley Fishburn, Cyrus Friedheim, Louis Levy, George Lorch, John Nichols, James Pitblado, S. Jay Stewart, Louis Sullivan; HFC Director Defendant J.A. Vozar; Auditor Defendant Arthur Andersen; and Investment Bank Defendants Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. Lead Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false representations and omissions in public filings, press releases, analyst reports and other public statements concerning Household, its operations, and financial condition during the period October 23, 1997 through October 11, 2002 (the “Class Period”).
On March 19, 2004, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to dismiss, dismissing claims against the Director Defendants, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and upholding claims against Household International, Inc. William Aldinger, David Schoenholz, Gary Gilmer, J.A. Vozar, and Arthur Andersen. Thereafter, Defendants filed answers denying all material allegations in the Amended Complaint and asserting various defenses thereto.
On December 3, 2004, the Court certified a Class in this case, defined as: all Persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the securities of Household during the period between October 23, 1997 and October 11, 2002. Excluded from the Class are defendants herein, members of defendants’ immediate families, any person, firm, trust, corporation, officer, director or other individual or entity in which any defendant has a controlling interest or which is related to or affiliated with any defendant, and the legal representatives, agents, affiliates, heirs, successors-in-interest or assigns of any such excluded party.
On June 16, 2005, the Class and Arthur Andersen reached a settlement for $1.5 million (the “Andersen Settlement”). On January 31, 2006, a notice was sent to Class Members informing them of the Andersen Settlement, of the certification of the Class, and notifying Class Members of the right to be excluded from the Litigation. On April 6, 2006, the Court approved the settlement.
On February 28, 2006, the Court also dismissed all alleged § 10 claims that arose prior to July 30, 1999, shortening the class period by 22 months. Discovery has concluded. Separately, one of the defendants, Arthur Andersen LLP, entered into a settlement of the claims against Arthur Andersen. This settlement received Court approval in April, 2006. Remaining defendants’ summary judgment motion is pending.
The Court has set a trial date of March 30, 2009. On March 30, 2009, the first day of jury trial was held before the Honorable Ronald A. Guzman.
According to an article dated May 8, 2009, Household International Inc. executives made misleading public statements about the company's business practices, deceiving shareholders, a Chicago federal court jury found after a monthlong trial. The jury returned the verdict Thursday after 3 1/2 days of deliberation, finding the company and three executives … made the remarks recklessly. Household, now known as HSBC Finance Corp., was acquired by London-based HSBC Holdings PLC for $15.5 billion in March 2003. Jurors didn't award a lump sum to shareholders. U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman, who presided over the trial, said the case is not over. HSBC Finance, based in Mettawa, said it will ask the court to overturn the verdict.
On March 22, 2010, the plaintiff filed a motion for judgment, and on July 28, 2010, Honorable Ronald A. Guzman denied the motion as moot.
On October 16, 2013, a judgment of $2.46 billion was entered against HSBC on certain claims. Pursuant to a mandate issued by the Seventh Circuit on May 21, 2015, this judgment was vacated and this case was remanded to the District Court.
According to press reports on June 16, 2016, HSBC has reached a $1.575 billion settlement to end this case. The parties filed a Stipulation of Settlement dated June 17. This Settlement was preliminarily approved by the Court on June 23.