According to the lawsuit, Rayonier issued materially false and misleading financial information to investors. On November 10, 2014, Rayonier restated its interim consolidated financial statements for the quarters ended March 31, 2014 and June 30, 2014 following an internal review of its operations. The restatement resulted from Rayonier's understatement of depletion in the cost of goods sold. As part of its internal review, the Company also determined that its internal controls were not effective as of the end of 2013. On this news, Rayonier's share price fell sharply, damaging investors.
On January 12, 2015, the Pension Trust Fund For Operating Engineers and the Lake Worth Firefighters’ Pension Trust Fund submitted a Motion for Appointment as Lead Plaintiff and Approval of Their Selection of Lead Counsel. On February 25, 2015, Judge Corrigan approved the appointment of Operating Engineers and Lake Worth as Lead Plaintiffs, and approved of the selection of Saxena White as Lead Counsel. Notably, Judge Corrigan stated in His Honor’s Order that Saxena White P.A. has “substantial experience in securities class actions.”
On September 25, 2015, Lead Plaintiffs filed the Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint for Violations of the Federal Securities Laws. Defendants filed their respective motions to dismiss the second amended complaint on October 26, 2015. Lead Plaintiffs filed their opposition to Defendants’ motions to dismiss on December 4, 2015. Defendants filed their consolidated reply brief in support of their motions to dismiss on December 18, 2015.
On April 20, 2016, a hearing was held on Defendants’ motions to dismiss the second amended complaint. On May 20, 2016, the Court denied Defendants’ motions to dismiss.
On December 15, 2016, Lead Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification, Appointment of Class Representatives and Appointment of Class Counsel and Supporting Memorandum of Law was filed. Defendants filed their opposition to Lead Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification on February 13, 2017. Lead Plaintiffs reached a settlement of this action for $73,000,000 in cash that resolved all claims in the action. The Court preliminarily approved the settlement on June 1, 2017.
A final approval settlement hearing was held on September 19, 2017 in which Judge Corrigan approved the settlement as fair, adequate and reasonable. He emphasized in his Order that the settlement was "the second largest recovery from a securities class action achieved in the Middle District of Florida." Judge Corrigan stressed "the exceptional results achieved for the benefit of the Settlement Class." Further, the Court added that "in addition to the settlement being objectively outstanding....the reaction of those involved in the case confirms this characterization....based on their comparatively robust participating in the claims process and lack of objections to the settlement amount and attorneys' fee request, the Settlement Class apparently agrees."