Avon Products, Inc. is a multinational cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and personal care company, based in London. According to a press release dated July 7, 2011, the Defendants violated Sections 10(b), 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, including Rules 10b-5 and 14a-9. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of shareholders who either (1) held the Defendant’s stock at the close of business of March 17, 2011, March 17, 2010, March 18, 2009, March 14, 2008 or March 15, 2007 and were therefore eligible to vote proxies or (2) purchased or otherwise acquired the Defendant’s common stock from July 31, 2006 through and including May 24, 2011.
The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants falsely assured investors that the Company had effective internal controls and accounting systems, as required under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). The Company disclosed, in October 2008, that it had begun an investigation into possible FCPA violations in China in June 2008. The Plaintiffs allege, however, that the Company had an illegal practice of paying bribes in violation of the FCPA, extending as far back as 2004 and which continued even after its October 2008 disclosure, until as recently as last year. Despite its certifications of the effectiveness of its internal controls, the Company’s internal controls were severely deficient, allowing the Company to engage in millions of dollars of improper payments in over a dozen countries throughout the Class Period.
On September 29, 2011, the Court issued an order appointing lead Plaintiffs and lead Counsel. On March 16, 2012, the Plaintiffs filed an amended Complaint for violations of the federal securities laws. On March 22, 2012, the Court issued an order dismissing certain individual Defendants from the action without prejudice. On September 28, 2014, the Court issued an order granting the Defendants' motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs were given until October 24 to file an amended Complaint. The amended Complaint was filed on that date.
On July 22, 2015, the parties entered a Settlement Agreement. This Settlement was preliminarily approved by the Court on August 21. On August 24, 2016, the Court granted final approval of the Settlement and dismissed this action. The August 24 order was appealed on September 22, 2016. The appeal was dismissed on May 2, 2017. On September 17, 2018, the Court issued a corrected order approving distribution of the net Settlement fund.