By the Order and Final Judgment entered on February 9, 2006, the settlement is approved and the action is dismissed with prejudice. Further, the Plan of Allocation is approved, and Plaintiffs’ Counsel are awarded 28.544% of the Gross Settlement Fund in fees and in reimbursement of expenses, comprised of $128,790.13 in expenses and $159,668.15 in fees, for a total of $288,458.28.
In a press release dated October 29, 2005, Aquila Inc. has settled five securities class-action lawsuits for $1 million in cash, ending litigation over its buyback of shares in early 2002. U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. on Friday gave preliminary approval to the settlement and set a Feb. 3 hearing to determine whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.
According to the docket posted, on March 23, 2005, the Court entered the Order denying plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment and granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On April 22, 2005, the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal. On July 28, 2005, the Court entered the Order of the U.S. Court of Appeals granting the Appellants' unopposed motion to remand to the District Court to consider settlement approval. The case was remanded to the United States District Court for the limited purpose of permitting the District Court to consider the parties' proposed settlement of litigation. On October 4, 2005, a Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement was filed, and on October 28, 2005, the Court entered the Order preliminarily approving the class action settlement.
The original complaint charges Aquila, certain of its officers and directors, and UtiliCorp United Inc. ("UtiliCorp"), the Company's controlling shareholder, with making material misstatements and omissions concerning Aquila's planned formation of an Audit Committee consisting of independent directors to, among other things, monitor transactions between UtiliCorp and Aquila. Defendants' failure to timely appoint an independent Audit Committee ultimately permitted UtiliCorp to commence a tender offer pursuant to which it bought back all of the outstanding Aquila Class A common stock at an non-negotiated and less than optimum price per share.