Updated: Sep 14, 2022
A federal judge on Tuesday granted class-certification to a group of U.S. Steel investors who filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2017 over alleged violations of federal securities laws. In the suit filed in U.S. District of Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the investors claimed the company’s top brass misled investors about the company’s financial well-being, which led to declining stock prices.
According to the Dec. 31 order from U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon, the class includes those who purchased U.S. Steel stock between Jan. 26, 2016 and April 25, 2017—a period of time during which investors claim that the company hid unplanned outages, as well as maintenance and operational issues at their plants. That lack of disclosure, they said, prompted U.S. Steel stock prices to plummet once those issues became public.
GASP this past July wrote about the suit, which included statements by current and former U.S. Steel employees—as confidential witnesses—alleging systemic maintenance and operational failures at the company’s plants. Among them was a 40-year veteran of the Clairton Coke Works who alleged U.S. Steel asked employees to “jury rig” failing equipment, operating on a “don’t buy, get by” mentality.
GASP staff then looked at U.S. Steel’s air emissions compliance during the time period when investors and confidential witnesses claimed the maintenance and operational failures took place by analyzing Allegheny County Health Department’s 2018 enforcement order, as well as court transcripts from an associated appeal.
Our conclusion? Our analysis showed that U.S. Steel struggled to comply with air emissions standards during the same period of time investors claim company leaders were hiding information about deficiencies at their plants.
You can read the amended complaint—Vrakas vs. United States Steel Corp.—here.