According to the law firm press release, the lawsuit alleges that Sea World failed to disclose in its IPO documents that it (a) had improperly cared for and mistreated its Orca population which adversely impacted trainer and audience safety; (b) continued to feature and breed an Orca that had killed and injured numerous trainers; and (c) consequently created material uncertainties and risks existing at the time of IPO that could adversely impact attendance at its family oriented parks. The lawsuit claims that when details of the Company's improper practices were revealed by the documentary film Blackfish, SeaWorld misled investors by claiming the decrease in attendance at its parks was caused by Easter holiday and other factors. The complaint asserts that the decline in attendance was really caused by the mounting negative publicity from the improper practices at SeaWorld that were revealed by the Blackfish film.
On August 13, 2014, the price of SeaWorld Stock dropped by $9.25 per share, or 32.9%. This drop followed SeaWorld's announcement of earnings for the second quarter of 2014, where it revealed that revenues fell year over year and acknowledged for the first time that its earnings difficulties were related to negative publicity it has received in connection with its treatment of animals.
On December 11, 2014, the Court issued an Order appointing Lead Plaintiff and Counsel. Lead Plaintiff filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint on February 27, 2015. Lead Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Consolidated Complaint on May 31, 2016.
On November 29, 2017, the Court issued an Order granting the motion to certify a class in this action.
On April 15, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. On November 18, the Court issued an Order denying the Motion for Summary Judgment.
On February 10, 2020, the parties entered into a Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement. On February 19, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement. On July 24, the Court granted final approval of the Settlement and entered Final Judgment.