According to the Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice, entered on October 7, 2005, the Court approves the settlement as set forth in the Stipulation and finds that the settlement is, in all respects, fair, reasonable and adequate to the Settlement Class. The Court hereby dismisses with prejudice and without costs (except as otherwise provided in the Stipulation) the Litigation against the Defendants.
By the Notice of Settlement of Class Action, the proposed settlement creates a fund in the amount of $1,250,000 in cash and will include interest that accrues on the fund prior to distribution. Your recovery from this fund will depend on a number of variables, including the number of shares of Blue Rhino common stock you purchased during the period November 25, 2002 through December 16, 2002 (the “Class Period”) and the timing of your purchases and any sales. Depending on the number of eligible shares purchased by Settlement Class Members who elect to participate in the distribution of the Settlement Fund and when those shares were purchased and sold, the estimated average distribution per share will be approximately $0.78 before deduction of Court-approved fees and expenses. The Lead Plaintiffs and the Defendants do not agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the Lead Plaintiffs were to have prevailed on each claim alleged.
According to the docket posted, Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Complaint on December 3, 2003. On April 9, 2004, the Court dismissed the Consolidated Complaint. Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on May 21, 2004 and the Court dismissed the Amended Complaint with prejudice. A Second Amended Complaint was filed on October 29, 2004. On January 31, 2005, the Court entered the Order granting in part and denying in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. On April 29, 2005, a Stipulation for Settlement was filed by the plaintiffs.
The original complaint charges Blue Rhino and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The complaint alleges that each of the defendants is liable as a participant in a fraudulent scheme and course of business that operated as a fraud or deceit on purchasers of Blue Rhino securities by disseminating materially false and misleading statements and/or concealing material adverse facts. The scheme: (i) deceived the investing public regarding Blue Rhino's business, operations, management and the intrinsic value of Blue Rhino common stock; (ii) enabled defendants to acquire over $30 million in assets, purchased using artificially inflated Blue Rhino shares, to refinance debt upon more favorable terms with its lenders; (iii) allowed defendants to sell $15.79 million worth of Company common stock in a private placement, as well as register over $23.8 million in shares of common stock for large shareholders that had entered into a private equity deal the prior year; and (iv) caused plaintiff and other
members of the Class to purchase Blue Rhino securities at artificially inflated prices.