Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Sterling Heights General Employees' Retirement System, et al v. Hospira

April 18, 2012

CITY OF STERLING HEIGHTS GENERAL EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HOSPIRA, INC., THOMAS E. WERNER, CHRISTOPHER B. BEGLEY,AND F. MICHAEL BALL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is a securities class action against Hospira, Inc., F. Michael Ball, Thomas E. Werner and Christopher B. Begley. Four movants seek appointment as Lead Plaintiff and Lead Counsel:

1) Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund ("Sheet Metal") and KBC Asset Management NV ("KBC") (collectively, the "Institutional Investor Group") (R. 18); 2) Ironworkers Locals 40, 361 & 417 -- Union Security Funds ("Ironworkers Locals 40, 361 & 417"), Iron Workers Local 580 -- Joint Funds ("Iron Workers Local 580"), and Iron Workers Local 40 ("Iron Workers Local 40") (collectively, the "Ironworkers Group") (R. 21); 3) The Heavy & General Laborers' Locals 472 & 172 Pension & Annuity Funds and the Roofers Local No. 149 Pension Fund (collectively, the "Laborers and Roofers Funds") (R. 25); and 4) New Jersey Building Laborers Pension Fund ("New Jersey Laborers") and Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada ("Musicians' Pension Fund")

(R. 28).

In addition, as discussed below, after the movants filed their motions, the Institutional Investor Group and the Laborers and Roofers Funds (collectively, the "Combined Institutional Investor Group") amended their proposals and proposed a joint appointment as lead plaintiff. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the amended motion of the Combined Institutional Investor Group to serve as lead plaintiff, and approves the selection of Motley Rice LLC and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as lead counsel. The Court denies the remaining motions.

BACKGROUND

On November 21, 2011, the City of Sterling Heights General Employees' Retirement System filed this securities class action on behalf of all persons who purchased or acquired the common stock of Hospira between March 24, 2009 and October 17, 2011, against Hospira, F. Michael Ball, Thomas E. Werner, and Christopher B. Begley. Hospira is a global specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company that provides generic injectable products in multiple dosages and formulations, as well as integrated fusion therapy and medication management systems. (R. 1, Complaint at ¶ 2.) Its products are "used by hospital and alternative site providers, such as clinics, home healthcare providers and long-term care facilities." (Id. at ¶ 2.) Defendant F. Michael Ball has served as the Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of Hospira since March 28, 2011 and the Director of the Board since March 2011. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Defendant Thomas E. Werner is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance of Hospira. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Defendant Christopher Begley is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Hospira, and served as Hospira's CEO until March 28, 2011. (Id. at ¶ 17).

Plaintiff alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. It alleges that Defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding Hospira's financial and business prospects during the Class Period. "Specifically, the Company touted to investors Hospira's ability to streamline its process and practices in order to boost the Company's long-term profitability and increase the return for Hospira shareholders." (Id. at ¶ 3.)

On December 9, 2011, the IUE-CWA Local 475 Pension Plan filed a class action against Hospira and the same individual Defendants alleging the same basis for liability under Section 10(b) and 20(a) fo the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. (See IUE-CWA Local 475 Pension Plan v. Hospira, Inc., No. 11-8746 ("the IUE-CWA Action")). On February 1, 2012, the Court granted the agreed motions to consolidate the IUE-CWA Action with this one.

(R. 51). The moving parties now seek appointment of a lead plaintiff. ANALYSIS

I. Legal Standard

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PSLRA") provides guidelines for the appointment of a lead plaintiff in a securities class action case. The PSLRA requires that the Court "appoint as a lead plaintiff the member or members of the purported plaintiff class that the court determines to be most capable of adequately representing the interests of the class members...." 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(a)(3)(B)(I). The PSLRA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the "most adequate plaintiff" is the "person or group of persons" who "has either filed the complaint or made a motion in response to a notice," "has the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class," and "otherwise satisfies the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." 15 U.S.C. 78u-4(a)(3)(B)(iii)(aa); (bb); and (cc). This presumption may be rebutted, however, if a member of the purported class establishes that the "presumptively most adequate plaintiff will not fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class" or "is subject to unique defenses that render such plaintiff incapable of adequately representing the class." 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(a)(3)(B)(iv). The PSRLA further provides that the "most adequate plaintiff shall, subject to the approval of the court, select and retain counsel to represent the class." Id. at 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(a)(3)(b)(v).

II. Timing of Motions

On November 21, 2011, Sterling Heights published notice of the pendency of the action over Business Wire, a national business-oriented wire service, advising members of the proposed class who purchased Hospira stock during the Class Period of their right to move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff no later than 60 days from the date of publication. The 60 day period ran on January 20, 2012. Each of the following movants timely filed its motion for appointment of lead plaintiff as required under the PSLRA: 1) the Institutional Investor Group, 2) the Ironworkers Group, 3) Laborers and Roofers Funds, and 4) the New Jersey Laborers. Each of these movants constitutes a group of sophisticated institutional investors who purchased Hospira stock during the Class Period.

On February 1, 2012, the Court held a status hearing on the pending motions.*fn1 During the hearing, the following colloquy took place regarding the pending motions for appointment of lead plaintiff:

MR. PARRETT: Your Honor, I'd just like to say for the record that within the next ten days, before we do respond, we certainly intend to talk to co-plaintiffs' counsel and try to work this out.

THE COURT: That is an excellent idea.

MR. PARRETT: I encourage everyone ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.