According to the law firm press release, the complaint alleges that during the Class Period, certain of Patriot Coal’s officers issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business prospects. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants violated Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules by failing to properly account for costs associated with Court-ordered remediation obligations related to the Company’s selenium water treatment requirements. In particular, defendants improperly capitalized these costs instead of recording them as expenses, thereby overstating the Company’s financial results.
In response to comments received from the SEC regarding the Company’s accounting for the Court-ordered remediation costs, defendants were forced to reveal that the Company’s previously issued consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010 should no longer be relied upon. Moreover, defendants admitted that it was necessary to restate the Company’s previously issued consolidated financial statements to accrue a liability and recognize a loss for the estimated costs of installing the Court-ordered water treatment facilities.
Further, the complaint alleges that the defendants were also making false and misleading statements about the Company’s business health and continuing prospects. In particular, the defendants continuously touted that the Company’s “operations are performing well” and that the Company is positioned for “future growth.” Then, on July 9, 2012, Patriot Coal shocked the market when it announced that it and substantially all of its wholly owned subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. When the true state of the Company’s business health became public, Patriot Coal’s shares dropped 72%, from a closing pricing of $2.19 on July 6, 2012, to a closing price of $0.61 at the end of the day on July 9, 2012.
On March 18, 2013, an Amended Consolidated Securities Class Action Complaint was filed by the lead plaintiffs against the defendants.
On March 18, 2014, the Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss after having determined that the plaintiffs have not pleaded scienter sufficiently to maintain their primary claim, the Court must also dismiss their Section 20(a) and Section 20(b) claims in Counts II and III, which are predicated in part on a Section 10(b) claim.