According to the law firm press release, Southern Company is a utility holding company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Southern Company's operating subsidiaries include public utility companies located throughout the Southeastern United States, including Mississippi Power, Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Southern Power and Gulf Power.
In 2006, Southern Company announced plans for a "clean coal" plant to be built in Kemper County, Mississippi (the "Kemper Plant") by its subsidiary, Mississippi Power. At the time the project broke ground in 2010, a funding package of almost $1 billion in U.S. Department of Energy grants and Internal Revenue Service tax credits was in place, provided that construction of the plant was completed by May 2014.
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding the progress of the Kemper Plant, assuring investors that the project would be completed by the critical May 2014 deadline, even when cost overruns and other delays began to materialize. As a result of defendants' false statements and/or omissions, Southern Company common stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period.
Then on October 30, 2013, the Company announced its third quarter 2013 financial results, disclosing an after-tax charge of $93 million "related to increased cost estimates for the construction" of the Kemper Plant. In addition, defendants disclosed in an earnings conference call the same day that the in-service date for the Kemper Plant would be delayed until year-end 2014. As a result of these revelations, the price of Southern Company common stock declined significantly.
On April 11, 2017, the Court appointed Lead Plaintiff and Counsel. Lead Plaintiff filed a consolidated complaint on June 12. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the consolidated Complaint on July 27. On March 29, 2018, the Court issued an Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Several Defendants were dismissed as individual Defendants. Lead Plaintiff filed a Motion for Class Certification on September 24, 2018. On August 22, 2019, the Court issued an Order granting Lead Plaintiffs's Motion for Class Certification. On December 19, the Court issued an Order staying the case while the parties conduct mediation.
The parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement on September 8, 2020. On October 1, the Court issued an Order granting preliminary approval of the Settlement.