Cases

In re Rayonier Inc. Securities Litigation

Court: United States District Court, Middle District of Florida
Case Number: 3:14-cv-1395
Judge: Hon. Timothy J. Corrigan
Class Period: 10/26/2010 - 11/7/2014 (inclusive)
Case Contacts: Avi Josefson, David R. Stickney, Jonathan D. Uslaner, Brandon Marsh

This is a securities fraud class action brought on behalf of persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of Rayonier Inc. (“Rayonier”) during the period from October 26, 2010 through November 7, 2014, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

Lead Plaintiffs Reach a Settlement for $73 Million

Lead Plaintiffs have reached a settlement of this action for $73,000,000 in cash that resolves all claims in the action.

On September 19, 2017, the Court held a hearing to consider final approval of the Settlement and related matters.  On October 5, 2017, the Court entered a Final Judgment approving the Settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate, and entered an order approving the Plan of Allocation for the proceeds of the Settlement.

If you are a member of the Settlement Class, your rights will be affected and you may be eligible for a payment from the settlement. The Settlement Class consists of:

all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Rayonier common stock during the period from October 26, 2010 through November 7, 2014, inclusive, and were damaged thereby, except for certain persons and entities who are excluded from the Settlement Class by definition (see paragraph 18 of the Notice).

Please read the Notice to fully understand your rights.  Copies of the Notice and Claim Form can be found on the Case Documents page.  You may also visit the Settlement website, www.RayonierSecuritiesSettlement.com, for more information about the Settlement.

Payments to eligible claimants will be made only after the completion of all claims processing.  Please be patient, as this process will take some time to complete.

IMPORTANT DEADLINE

October 13, 2017

Claim Filing Deadline. Claim Forms must be postmarked no later than October 13, 2017 to be eligible for a payment from the Settlement.

  

Background

On November 13, 2014, BLB&G filed a securities class action lawsuit on behalf of Lake Worth Firefighters’ Pension Trust Fund (“Lake Worth”) against Rayonier Inc. (“Rayonier” or the “Company”) and certain of its senior executives.   On February 25, 2015, the Court appointed Lake Worth and the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers Lead Plaintiffs.  On September 25, 2015, Lead Plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated class action complaint asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on behalf of purchases of Rayonier common stock during the period from October 26, 2010 through November 7, 2014, inclusive.  A copy of the complaint is available here. On October 26, 2015, Defendants filed motions to dismiss the complaint, which Lead Plaintiffs opposed. On May 20, 2016, the court denied the motions to dismiss. Plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification on December 15, 2016. 

Rayonier is a leading international forest products company primarily engaged in activities associated with timberland management and the sale and entitlement of real estate.  Currently, the Company claims to be the eighth largest private timberland owner in the U.S., with approximately 2.6 million acres of owned or leased timberland and real estate in the U.S. and New Zealand.  Because Rayonier's primary business involves harvesting natural resources from forests, the Company placed an emphasis on Rayonier being able to manage the land in a sustainable manner.  Indeed, the Company voluntarily subscribed to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program, which purportedly included independent third-party audits of Rayonier's practices, and Rayonier marketed itself as an environmentally friendly company.

Throughout the Class Period, Rayonier reported its financial results—including cost of sales, net income, operating income, and inventories of timber—certified that its financial statements were correct and that the Company's internal controls were effective.  Rayonier also represented throughout the Class Period that the Company engaged in sustainable timber harvesting practices.

Lead Plaintiffs allege these statements were false.  On November 10, 2014, before the start of trading, Rayonier reported earnings for its third quarter of 2014.  In connection with that earnings report, the Company announced that it was forced to restate its financial results for the quarterly periods ending March 31, 2014 and June 30, 2014 because Rayonier was including in its calculation of merchantable timber inventory, timber in protected areas which could not be sold.  As a result, the Company concluded that it understated its cost of sales and overstated its net income, operating income, timber inventories, and numerous other critical financial metrics.  Significantly, the Company also disclosed that its internal controls were ineffective. Rayonier further announced that it would cut its quarterly dividend from $0.30 per share to $0.25 per share, a decrease of almost 17%, because the Company had been harvesting timber in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in an unsustainable manner for over a decade. 

As a result of Rayonier's improper inventory calculation, restatement, dividend cut, and unsustainable harvesting practices, the Company also announced on November 10, 2014 that it accepted the resignation of N. Lynn Wilson, Rayonier's Executive Vice President, Forest Resources, effective November 7, 2014.  On this news, the price of the Company's stock declined from $33.90 per share to $28.82 per share on November 10, a decline of almost 15%.

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