In August 2018, Kessler Topaz was appointed to represent a putative class of investors in consolidated actions pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Acuity Brands Inc., its former CEO, Vernon J. Nagel, and its former CFO, Richard K. Reece. Following an extensive investigation, in October 2018 Kessler Topaz filed a complaint alleging that Defendants failed to disclose to investors their knowledge of the adverse impact of increased competition in the LED market on Acuity’s financial performance and also that Defendants falsely touted Acuity’s business relationship with its largest customer, Home Depot, while failing to disclose that increased LED competition was eroding Acuity’s sales to Home Depot. The complaint further alleged that Defendants sought to conceal the negative impact of competition through aggressive sales practices, including widespread quarter-end shipments.
On August 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen sustained in part Plaintiff’s claims, finding that the complaint adequately alleged that Defendants knowingly or recklessly issued false or misleading statements concerning the impact of increased competition on Acuity and with respect to the strength of Acuity’s sales to Home Depot. Discovery is ongoing.