Duke Energy settles shareholder lawsuit for $146M

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-based Duke Energy has agreed to settle a shareholder lawsuit linked to its 2012 merger with Progress Energy for about $146 million.Duke’s insurance coverage covers most of the settlement amount, and shareholders – not customers – will pay the remaining portion, according to a company statement. The company last year reported a $26 million reserve for the estimated portion not covered by insurance.

The class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders claimed Duke Energy, its executives and directors made misrepresentations related to a post-merger CEO change. The settlement covered three consolidated cases in the N.C. federal courts that were filed shortly after the July 2012 merger.

As part of the agreement, Duke and the named executives and directors denied the allegations and any wrongdoing.

Duke said it settled to “avoid the cost of prolonged litigation and eliminate uncertainty for the company” from the lawsuit.

When Duke and Progress agreed to the $32 billion “merger of equals,” Progress chief executive Bill Johnson was expected to lead the combined companies. Duke became the nation’s largest electric utility with 7.1 million customers in six states at the time.

But within hours of closing the deal, the new Duke board promptly fired Johnson and reinstalled Duke CEO Jim Rogers. Johnson is now chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The N.C. Utilities Commission launched an investigation of whether the…

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