January 10, 2020
On December 16, 2019, Weil secured a significant victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action securities fraud claim brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) against several former Anadarko Petroleum Corporation executives and the company itself. Weil represented all three former executives on the appeal and one of the executives before the district court.
This victory follows the dismissal, with prejudice and without leave to amend, by the district court on March 13, 2019.
The plaintiff attempted to base its lawsuit upon a fatal explosion of a home near an Anadarko well in Firestone, Colorado, in April 2017. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ purported misrepresentations concerning Anadarko’s safety and regulatory compliance practices had artificially inflated Anadarko stock prices and that, when news of an Anadarko well’s link to the Firestone explosion broke, stock prices dropped and investors suffered losses.
In affirming the lower court’s dismissal for plaintiff’s failure to adequately allege scienter, the Fifth Circuit panel unanimously held that “[t]he district court was correct to dismiss the claims” because the plaintiff’s allegations “do not give rise to a strong inference that [the defendants] had ‘intent to deceive, manipulate, or defraud’ or acted with ‘severe recklessness’[….]”
The Weil team representing the three individual executive defendants on appeal included Dallas-based Litigation partner Paul Genender. Co-defendants’ counsel also secured the dismissal with prejudice of the plaintiff’s claims against Anadarko and two of the three individual defendants at the lower court, and Anadarko was represented by separate counsel before the Fifth Circuit panel.