According to the docket posted, on February 21, 2006, the Court entered the Order signed by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, granting the motion for settlement and awarding attorney's fees and reimbursement of expenses. That day, the Court further entered the Judgment approving the settlement as set forth in the Stipulation. According to the Judgment, the Settlement is, in all respect, fair, reasonable and adequate to members of the Class. The parties are authorized and directed to consummate the Settlement in accordance with the Terms and provisions of the Stipulation.
In a press release dated December 5, 2005, the action has been certified as a class action for the purpose of proposed settlement valued at $9,750,000 (the "Settlement") that will resolve all claims of Lead Plaintiffs and the Class against all defendants. The proposed Settlement is with Bennett Environmental Inc. and certain individual defendants. A hearing will be held before the Honorable Laura Taylor Swain, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 40 Centre Street, New York, New York 10007-1581 at 2:30 p.m. on January 13, 2006 to determine whether the proposed Settlement should be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to consider the application of Lead Counsel for attorneys' fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses.
In a press release dated August 31, 2005, Bennett Environmental Inc. announced that it had reached an agreement in principle to settle the previously disclosed consolidated securities class action against it and certain of its present or former officers that is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Under the proposed settlement, all claims asserted against the Company and the other named defendants in that action will be dismissed with prejudice with no admission or finding of wrongdoing on the part of any defendant. The proposed settlement will provide for an aggregate cash payment to class members of US$9.75 million, which will be paid primarily by the Company's insurance carriers with a contribution of US$750,000 to come from the Company. The proposed settlement is subject to negotiation of definitive settlement documents and preliminary and final court approvals following notices to shareholders and members of the class.
The complaint alleges that, throughout the relevant time period, defendants misrepresented the financial condition of the company by stating that the largest contract in the company’s history was in full force and effect when, in fact, the contract had been substantially withdrawn almost immediately after its execution. Canadian investors are included in this action.
The complaint charges individual defendants with violations of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 for making allegedly false and misleading statements which caused Bennett common stock to trade at artificially inflated levels during the Class Period. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants repeatedly touted that Bennett had been awarded a "record" contract - the "largest in the Company's history" - to treat "300,000 tons" of contaminated soil from a large hazardous waste site in New Jersey - that was expected to generate more than $200 million (CDN) in revenues for the Company (the "New Jersey Contract").
The complaint further alleges that on July 22, 2004, Bennett revealed that: (a) the Company would not be receiving the 300,000 tons of soil or $200 million (CDN) in revenues for soil treatment under the New Jersey Contract; (b) shortly after the New Jersey Contract was awarded to Bennett in May 2003, Bennett's consent to perform under the contract had been withdrawn by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps") which supervises the contractors responsible for the remediation process at the New Jersey site; (c) the Corps agreed to ship only up to 10,000 tons of soil from the clean-up site to Bennett; (d) only "about 7,000 tons" of contaminated soil had been treated by Bennett under the New Jersey Contract and "future deliveries under it are highly unlikely to resume"; (e) on June 3, 2004, Bennett had entered into a new subcontract for soil treatment on economic terms "far less" favorable than those in the New Jersey Contract and with a guaranteed minimum of only 1,000 tons of soil; and (f) operations at the Company's highly publicized new treatment facility in Belledune, New Brunswick would not start until it was clear that sufficient volumes of soil shipments would be received by Bennett. Plaintiff further alleges that Bennett shares declined sharply on these adverse disclosures.