According to a press release dated on August 24, 2010, the complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business and financial results and engaged in improper behavior that harmed Northern Trust’s investors by failing to disclose the extent of its seriously delinquent commercial real estate loans and the true nature and risks associated with its once highly profitable securities lending program. As a result of defendants’ false statements, Northern Trust’s stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period, reaching a high of $87.20 per share on September 11, 2008. While Northern Trust’s stock was artificially inflated due to defendants’ false statements, certain top officers and directors of the Company sold over 1.5 million shares of their Northern Trust stock for proceeds of over $106.5 million.
Then, on October 21, 2009, before the market opened, Northern Trust reported its third quarter 2009 earnings results, announcing third quarter results that fell short of expectations due in part to a serious decline in the Company’s securities lending program and to continuing pressure from its non-performing loans. On this news, Northern Trust’s stock fell $3.29 per share to close at $54.16 per share on October 21, 2009, a one-day decline of nearly 6% on volume of over 8.55 million shares.
According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known by the defendants but concealed from the investing public during the Class Period, were as follows: (a) defendants failed to properly account for Northern Trust’s commercial real estate loans, failing to reflect impairment in the loans; (b) Northern Trust had not adequately reserved for loan losses such that its financial statements were presented in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; (c) Northern Trust had not disclosed the true risk
associated with the Company’s securities lending program, as the Company was engaging in excessively risky investment practices by investing collateral pools in high risk investments; (d) the disruption to the Company’s securities lending program was not temporary and would significantly impact the Company’s business and outlook; and (e) the deterioration in the Company’s operating results from its securities lending business was not primarily attributable to negative returns associated with one of its collateral funds that used mark-to-market accounting or to a decline in overall borrowing demand, but rather, in large part, to an overall decline in the supply of securities available for loans.
On November 30, 2010, The City of Westland Police and Fire Retirement System was appointed lead plaintiff and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP was appointed lead counsel in the action. The plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on February 1, 2011. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss on April 1, 2011. The motion is currently pending before the Court.
On March 28, 2013, the Court issued an Opinion and Order granting, without prejudice, the defendants' motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs were given leave to file an amended complaint.
On May 16, 2013, the parties filed a Stipulation agreeing to voluntarily dismiss this case.