FLORIDA (From news reports) -- Rayonier Inc. will pay $73 million to settle claims that it misled investors about its timber inventory and inflated its stock price until the truth came out in late 2014. The suit was filed after Rayonier restated its earnings and disclosed that it had been overstating the amount of timber it could harvest and would be scaling back its logging in the Pacific Northwest to a more sustainable pace. The case was pending before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan when it settled.
The investors said the settlement would help shareholders who bought the stock at inflated prices over a period of nearly four years. The settlement was said to be the second largest securities deal ever reached in the Middle District of Florida. WellCare Health Plans Inc.'s $200 million settlement, announced in 2010, was the largest. Rayonier said in a statement in this case that the settlement would be covered by its insurers.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Maya Saxena, Joseph E. White III, Lester R. Hooker and Brandon T. Grzandziel of Saxena White PA, David R. Stickney, Jonathan D. Uslaner, Niki L. Mendoza, Brandon Marsh and Jenny Barbosa of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, and Robert D. Klausner of Klausner Kaufman Jensen & Levinson. The case is In re: Rayonier Inc. Securities Litigation (case number 3:14-cv-01395) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.