According to the docket posted, on June 28, 2004, the court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss without prejudice, but the plaintiffs did not appeal the ruling. Previously, the court ordered cases 03-CV-0603, 03-CV-0736, and 03-CV-1005 consolidated and established 03-CV-0603 as the Master File for the case.
The original complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements to the market between August 9, 2001 to July 22, 2002. Aegon, through its member companies, is an international insurer. During the years preceding the Class Period, and during the Class Period, as stock markets suffered substantial declines, increasing numbers of investors gravitated from variable products to fixed products. Aegon distinguished itself from its competitors with the claim that its purportedly broad product mix better enabled it to take advantage of this market shift while it simultaneously assured investors that it had sufficient reserves to fund the sharply increasing guaranteed payout obligations required by its fixed products. The complaint further alleges that Aegon also assured investors that it was less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the equity and credit markets than competitors because the Company matched "high quality investment assets ... in an optimal way to the corresponding insurance liability, taking into account currency, yield and maturity characteristics," The Company claimed that, for the foregoing reasons, "(c)onsistency and reliability in earnings forecasting is a particular source of pride" and that, while not immune to equity and real estate market shifts, the Company was not subject to sharp downward variations in annual net income. Accordingly, the Company reduced its earnings guidance for 2002 but at all relevant times maintained its forecast that 2002 net income would at least equal 2001 net income. The Class Period ends on July 22, 2002. The complaint alleges that, on that date, the Company shocked the market, announcing that 2002 net income would not equal 2001 net income but, on the contrary, would be 30% to 35% lower than 2001 net income. On this news, Aegon shares declined from a closing price of $16.99 on Friday, July 19, 2002 to a closing price of $13.25 on Monday, July 22, 2002, when trading resumed.