On April 6, 2021, Robert L. Reese (“Plaintiff”), represented by Andrew P. Kimble of Biller & Kimble, LLC filed a civil action against American Electric Power Company, Inc. (“AEP” or the “Company”), Nicholas K. Akins, Brian X. Tierney, Thomas E. Hoaglin, David J. Anderson, J. Barnie Beasley, and others (the “Board” or the “Individual Defendants”) (collectively, Defendants), seeking Damages and disgorgement of profit among other reliefs for the alleged violations of Sections 10(b) and 21D of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) by Defendants. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio with Judges Sarah D. Morrison and Chelsey M. Vascura presiding.
In the complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that “On July 21, 2020, a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit were unsealed, detailing an elaborate bribery scheme in which certain utility companies paid $60 million to Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (“Householder”), which was funneled through 501(c)(4) organizations called “Generation Now” and “Energy Pass-Through”. Householder secretly controlled Generation Now and used these funds to pay his campaign staff and the campaigns of 21 other state candidates in the 2018 primary and general elections. Between 2017 and 2019, AEP donated $900,000 through its non-profit, Empowering Ohio’s Economy (“EOE”), to Generation Now and Coalition for Growth & Opportunity, which are directly linked to Householder and his associates. AEP was the sole contributor to EOE.”
Furthermore, the Plaintiff alleged that “The Individual Defendants Cause the Company to Issue Materially Misleading Statements during the conference call of financial results 2019 & 2020 where they gave misleading information and failed to disclose (1) AEP did not support HB6 as it was introduced to the House in April 2019 because it lacked any cost-recovery provision as to AEP’s own coal-fired plants; (2) the Company made substantial contributions to Householder’s criminal enterprise to secure a bailout for AEP’s plants; and (3) these contributions were directed through the Company’s non-profit, EOE, so as to conceal AEP’s involvement and to work around the Company’s policy providing that “AEP cannot lawfully make Corporate Political contributions to candidates for elected office. And during all this time the CEO & CFO of AEP Akins, Tierney, and Beasley sold more than $16 million in AEP stock while in possession of material nonpublic information. Therefore, Plaintiff brings this action derivatively in the right and for the benefit of AEP to redress injuries suffered, and to be suffered, by AEP as a direct result of breaches of fiduciary duty by the Individual Defendants, insider trading, and contribution for violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act.”
There are four claims for relief laid down by Plaintiff. The first claim is against defendants Akins and Tierney, for alleged breach of fiduciary duty. The second claim is against Akins, Tierney, and Beasley, for alleged breach of duty for insider trading. The third claim is against defendants Akins and Tierney for alleged contribution for violations of sections 10(b) and 21D of the Exchange Act. The fourth claim is against defendants Hoaglin, Anderson, Beasley, Crosby, Garcia, Goodspeed, Lin, McCarthy, Notebaert, Nowell, Rasmussen, Richard, and Tucker for alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
In the prayer for relief, Plaintiff has requested the court to pass a judgment declaring that Plaintiff may maintain this action on behalf of AEP, award the amount of damages sustained by the Company, direct AEP to take all necessary actions to reform and improve its corporate governance, and grant injunctive relief against all the Defendants. Plaintiff further requested the court to grant restitution and disgorgement of all profits and grant costs of litigation to Plaintiff.
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Pending - Other Pending
Sarah D. Morrison
Chelsey M. Vascura
Elizabeth Preston Deavers
Robert L. Reese
Lionel L. Nowell, III
Linda A. Goodspeed
Brian X. Tierney
David J. Anderson
Thomas E. Hoaglin
Sandra Beach Lin
Sara Martinez Tucker
Art A. Garcia
Richard C. Notebaert
Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.
American Electric Power Company, Inc.
Margaret M. McCarthy
Stephen S. Rasmussen
Oliver G. Richard, III
Nicholas K. Akins
J. Barnie Beasley, Jr.
Andrew P Kimble
Attorney at Biller & Kimble, LLC
8044 Montgomery Road, Suite 515
Cincinnati, OH 45236
Attorney at Biller & Kimble, LLC
4200 Regent Street, Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43219
Docket(#7) NOTICE by Plaintiff Robert L. Reese re #6 Stipulation Exhibits to Stipulation (Kimble, Andrew) (Entered: 06/04/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#6) STIPULATION and [Proposed] Order Consolidating Actions and Appointing Co-Lead Counsel by Plaintiff Robert L. Reese. (Kimble, Andrew) Modified on 6/4/2021 (kk2) (Entered: 06/03/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#4) ORDER granting #2 Motion to File Verified Shareholder Derivative Complaint Under Seal. Plaintiff shall file an unredacted version of the complaint under seal w/in seven (7) days. Signed by Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura on 4/8/2021. (kk2) (Entered: 04/08/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#3) Summons Issued as to Nicholas K. Akins, American Electric Power Company Inc., David J. Anderson, J. Barnie Beasley, Jr., Ralph D. Crosby, Jr, Art A. Garcia, Linda A. Goodspeed, Thomas E. Hoaglin, Sandra Beach Lin, Margaret M. McCarthy, Richard C. Notebaert, Lionel L. Nowell, III, Stephen S. Rasmussen, Oliver G. Richard, III, Brian X. Tierney, and Sara Martinez Tucker (Attachments: #1 Summons Form Akins, #2 Summons Form Tierney, #3 Summons Form Hoaglin, #4 Summons Form Anderson, #5 Summons Form Beasley, #6 Summons Form Crosby, #7 Summons Form Garcia, #8 Summons Form Goodspeed, #9 Summons Form Lin, #10 Summons Form McCarthy, #11 Summons Form Notebaert, #12 Summons Form Nowell, #13 Summons Form Richard, #14 Summons Form Tucker, #15 Summons Form AEP) (kk2) (Entered: 04/08/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#2) MOTION to Seal Verified Shareholder Derivative Complaint by Plaintiff Robert L. Reese. (Attachments: #1 Text of Proposed Order) (Kimble, Andrew) (Entered: 04/07/2021)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#1) COMPLAINT with JURY DEMAND Verified Shareholder Derivative Complaint against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 402 paid - receipt number: AOHSDC-8255125), filed by Robert L. Reese. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet, #2 Summons Form to Rasmussen, #3 Summons Form to Akins, #4 Summons Form to Tierney, #5 Summons Form to Hoaglin, #6 Summons Form to Anderson, #7 Summons Form to Beasley, #8 Summons Form to Crosby, #9 Summons Form to Garcia, #10 Summons Form to Goodspeed, #11 Summons Form to Lin, #12 Summons Form to McCarthy, #13 Summons Form to Notebaert, #14 Summons Form to Nowell, #15 Summons Form to Richard, #16 Summons Form to Tucker, #17 Summons Form to AEP) (Kimble, Andrew) (Attachment 1 replaced on 4/8/2021) (kk2). Modified on 4/8/2021 (kk2) (Entered: 04/07/2021)Read MoreRead Less
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