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Signet Says Shareholder Suit Lacks Merit

Apr 4, 2017 11:06 AM   By Rapaport News
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Signet Jewelers has dismissed a lawsuit that claims the retailer misled the public about an arbitration case during which allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.

The suit, which was filed last week, alleges that Signet and certain executives “violated federal securities laws by disseminating false or misleading statements to the investing public about the true nature and severity of the allegations in the arbitration.”

The plaintiff in the case is Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement System, an institutional investor in Signet. It alleges that the company and certain officers downplayed allegations by plaintiffs in an ongoing arbitration case regarding alleged discrimination over pay and promotion.

As a result, the suit says, Irving and other stockholders suffered damages when Signet’s shares fell 13% last month, after The Washington Post reported that sworn statements from the arbitration revealed allegations of widespread sexual harassment at Signet.

Signet’s stock traded at what the suit calls “artificially inflated prices” between August 29, 2013, and February 27, 2017 – the period during which Irving purchased shares. Once the Post’s report hit the market, the stock dived, “causing economic harm and damages to plaintiff and class members,” the suit argues.

In response, Signet declared the lawsuit to be “without merit,” vowing to defend itself vigorously against it.

“Since the arbitration case was filed in 2008, Signet has fully met its disclosure requirements,” the company said this week. “Contrary to the shareholder suits and earlier media coverage, the arbitration case is focused on the company’s pay and promotions practices for women in certain positions within our field operations team, not sexual harassment.

“In fact, there are no legal claims on behalf of the class alleging sexual harassment,” it continued. “Any references to such allegations to support claims of intentional discrimination in pay and promotions were rejected by the arbitrator several years ago.”

Main image: Newscast
Tags: arbitration, Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement System, lawsuit, Rapaport News, Signet, Signet Jewelers
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