According to the law firm press release, the Complaint charges Horizon and certain of its executive officers with violations of federal securities laws. Horizon is a container shipping and logistics company. Among other things, plaintiff claims that defendants misled investors as to Horizon's profitability and artificially inflated its stock price, by entering into improper price-fixing agreements with competitors, in violation of federal antitrust laws.
The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants made false and misleading statements or failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations and prospects, including: (1) that Horizon and its co-conspirators had engaged in a combination and conspiracy in the United States and elsewhere to suppress and eliminate competition by, among other things, fixing the prices of rates, surcharges and other fees charged to customers for Puerto Rico freight services; (2) that the combination and conspiracy engaged in by Horizon and its co-conspirators had been an unreasonable restraint of interstate and foreign trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1; (3) that Horizon's publicly reported revenue and earnings had been improperly inflated due to improper price-fixing activities during the Class Period; (4) that, as a result of defendants' participation in price-fixing activities, Horizon's earnings reports and revenue guidance issued during the Class Period were false and misleading; (5) that the Company knew that its anti-competitive behavior, if discovered, could possibly subject the Company to future regulatory scrutiny; (6) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls; and (7) that the Company knew its financial results would be materially impacted if the Company were forced to stop its anti-competitive behavior.
On April 17, 2008, Horizon shocked investors when the Company revealed it was the subject of an antitrust investigation being conducted by the United States Department of Justice (the "DOJ") Antitrust Division. On this news, the Company's shares declined $3.53 per share, or 19.36 percent, to close on April 17, 2008, at $14.70 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume.
On April 25, 2008, Horizon further shocked investors when the Company reported Horizon's financial results for the 2008 fiscal first quarter ended March 23, 2008, and revised downward the Company's earnings guidance for the 2008 fiscal year. This news caused the Company's shares to decline $3.83 per share, or 23.10 percent, to close on April 25, 2008, at $11.25 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume.
Subsequently, on October 1, 2008, the DOJ issued a press release announcing that four shipping executives -- including three Horizon employees -- had agreed to plead guilty for their roles in a conspiracy, which continued as late as April 2008, to eliminate competition and raise prices for the movement of goods in the U.S. to Puerto Rico shipping lane, by agreeing not to compete for one another's customers, agreeing to rig bids submitted to government and commercial buyers, and agreeing to fix the prices of rates, surcharges and other fees charged to customers.
On November 13, 2009, the motion of defendants to dismiss the consolidated securities class action complaint was GRANTED without prejudice for failure to meet the heightened pleading requirements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the plaintiffs may file and serve a second amended complaint within eleven (11) days after the date of this Order.
On December 23, 2009, an amended complaint was filed by the plaintiffs in this matter against the defendants.
On May 18, 2010, it was Ordered that the joint motion of the defendants to dismiss the amended consolidated securities class action complaint was Granted, with prejudice, for failure to meet the heightened pleading requirements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
On June 08, 2010, the plaintiff’s motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) to alter or amend the Court's judgment dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was denied.
On June 15, 2010, the Lead Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from the Order dismissing this action, entered on May 18, 2010.
On September 3, 2010, a Judgment Order was entered in favor of Horizon Lines Inc., upon consideration of the unopposed joint motion of Lead Plaintiff the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit.
The plaintiffs filed an Amended Notice to Appeal the September 3rd Judgment. On September 28, 2011, the Court entered the Mandate from the U.S. Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the District Court.
On January 4, 2012, a Stipulation of Dismissal was filed. Judge Richard G. Andrews granted the Stipulation the following day. The civil case is now terminated.