December 24, 2016 / 12:25 AM / in a year

Halliburton shareholder class action to settle for $100 million

(Reuters) - Halliburton Co (HAL.N) on Friday said it had reached a $100 million settlement to resolve a long-running securities fraud class action lawsuit against the oilfield services provider that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oil production equipment is seen in a Halliburton yard in Williston, North Dakota April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen/File Photo

The deal resolves a lawsuit in federal court in Dallas accusing Halliburton of misrepresenting its potential liability in asbestos litigation, its expected revenue from certain construction contracts and the benefits of a merger in 1998.

Halliburton said the company itself would pay $54 million of the $100 million settlement, while its insurer would fund the rest. The deal, which would be subject to court approval, has no admission of liability, Halliburton said.

David Boies, a lawyer for the lead plaintiff Erica P. John Fund Inc, in a statement welcomed the deal, which he said was a “significant monetary recovery for the class members in this hard fought, securities fraud class action.”

The litigation has been pending for the Houston-based company since 2002, and came after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launched a probe of Halliburton’s accounting for revenue on long-term construction projects.

Halliburton, whose chief executive during the period in question was former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, settled that SEC case in 2004 for $7.5 million, but the class action litigation lived on for years to follow.

The class action lawsuit accused Halliburton of misleading investors by understating asbestos liabilities, overstating construction and engineering revenue and inflating the benefits of a merger with Dresser Industries.

The case twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently resulting in a ruling in 2014 that made it harder for investors to band together to pursue securities fraud lawsuits against publicly traded companies.

In July 2015, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn certified the class of investors, but allowed them to pursue claims related to just one of six dates they said Halliburton made disclosures that corrected misleading statements.

Halliburton subsequently appealed that ruling, and had been awaiting a decision prior to announcing Friday’s agreement in principle to settle the case.

The case is Erica P John Fund Inc et al v. Halliburton Company et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, No. 02-cv-01152.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrew Hay

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