Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., et al. Case No. 3:14-cv-2129-MMA-AGS
You or someone in your family, or an investment account for which you serve as a custodian, may have purchased or otherwise acquired the publicly traded common stock of SeaWorld between August 29, 2013 and August 12, 2014.
The Court directed that the Notice be sent to inform potential Class Members about the Settlement and their options before the Court ruled on the Settlement. Additionally, the Class Members have the right to understand how this class action lawsuit may affect their legal rights. The Court held its hearing on the fairness of the Settlement and related matters on July 22, 2020 and found the Settlement to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” pursuant to Rule 23(e). You can view this Order here.
To review a copy of the Notice click here.Back To Top
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or several individuals or entities prosecute claims on behalf of all members of a group of similarly situated persons and entities to obtain monetary or other relief for the benefit of the entire group. Class actions avoid the necessity of each member of a class having to file his, her, or its own separate lawsuit to obtain relief. Class actions are used to decide legal and factual issues that are common to all members of a class.Back To Top
Class Representatives believe that the claims asserted against Defendants have merit; however, they recognized the substantial risks they faced in successfully obtaining a favorable verdict for the Class at trial and through the likely appeals that would follow. In light of these risks, the amount of the Settlement, and the immediacy of recovery to the Class, Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interests of the Class. Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement provides a favorable result for the Class as compared to the risk that the claims in the Action would produce a smaller, or no, recovery after trial, and appeals, possibly years in the future.Back To Top
This is a securities class action against Defendants for alleged violations of the federal securities laws during the Class Period. Class Representatives alleged Defendants issued a series of false and misleading statements and omissions during the Class Period denying the 2013 documentary film Blackfish had any impact on attendance at certain of SeaWorld’s parks or its business. Defendants deny the allegations of wrongdoing asserted in the Action and deny any liability whatsoever to any members of the Class.
The Action was commenced on September 9, 2014, with the filing of a putative securities class action in the Court against SeaWorld, Blackstone, and certain of SeaWorld’s officers and directors.
Following hard-fought, arm’s-length negotiations, the Parties accepted a mediator’s recommendation to resolve the Action for $65 million. On February 10, 2020, the Parties entered into the Stipulation, which sets forth the specific terms and conditions of the Settlement. The Stipulation can be viewed here.
By Order dated February 18, 2020, the Court preliminarily approved the Settlement, authorized the notice of the Settlement to be provided to potential Class Members, and scheduled the Settlement Fairness Hearing to consider whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. The Court held its hearing on the fairness of the Settlement and related matters on July 22, 2020 and found the Settlement to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” pursuant to Rule 23(e). You can view this Order here.
On January 31, 2022, the Court issued an Order Granting Class Representatives' Unopposed Motion and Approving Distribution Plan. The initial distribution took place on March 17, 2022.Back To Top
The Class, as certified by the Court, consists of:
All persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the publicly traded common stock of SeaWorld between August 29, 2013 and August 12, 2014, who did not sell such acquired securities before August 13, 2014, and were damaged.
Excluded from the Class are:
Also excluded from the Class are any persons or entities who excluded themselves from the Class in connection with the Class Notice.Back To Top
If you are a Class Member and do nothing, you will be bound by all past, present and future orders and judgments in the Action, whether favorable or unfavorable. If you are a member of the Class and you did not submit a valid Claim Form, you will not be eligible to receive any payment from the Settlement Fund. You will, however, remain a member of the Class, which means that you give up your right to sue about the claims that are resolved by the Settlement and you will be bound by any judgments or orders entered by the Court in the Action.Back To Top
As this Class was previously certified and, in connection therewith, Class Members had the opportunity to exclude themselves from the Class, the Court has exercised its discretion not to allow a second opportunity for exclusion in connection with the settlement proceedings. The deadline to request exclusion from the Class was April 9, 2019. It is no longer possible to request exclusion.Back To Top
Pursuant to the Settlement, Defendants shall pay or cause to be paid $65,000,000 in cash (“Settlement Amount”). The Settlement Amount will be deposited into an escrow account. The Settlement Amount plus any interest earned while it is in escrow, is referred to as the “Settlement Fund.” The Settlement Fund less (i) any Taxes; (ii) any Notice and Administration Costs; (iii) any Litigation Expenses awarded by the Court; (iv) any attorneys’ fees awarded by the Court; and (v) any other costs or fees approved by the Court is defined as the “Net Settlement Fund”. On January 31, 2022, the Court issued an Order Granting Class Representatives' Unopposed Motion and Approving Distribution Plan. The initial distribution took place on March 17, 2022.
The Plan of Allocation is described in more detail in the Notice.Back To Top
The initial distribution took place on March 17, 2022. Your share of the Net Settlement Fund depended on several things, including the total amount of claims represented by the valid Claim Forms that Class Members sent in compared to the amount of your claim, all as calculated under the Plan of Allocation explained in the Settlement Notice.
By following the instructions in the Plan of Allocation, located in the Notice, you can calculate what is called your Recognized Loss Amount. The payment you received from the Net Settlement Fund was equal to your Recognized Loss divided by the total of everyone's Recognized Loss.
The Plan of Allocation is described in more detail in the Notice.Back To Top
To be eligible for a payment, you must have submitted a timely and valid Claim Form. Claim Forms must have been postmarked, if mailed, or received online on or before July 16, 2020.Back To Top
Pursuant to its Order dated January 31, 2022 (Doc. No. 533), the Net Settlement Fund was distributed to Authorized Claimants. The initial distribution took place on March 17, 2022.Back To Top
Unless you excluded yourself, you remain a member of the Class, which means that upon the Effective Date you will release all Released Plaintiffs’ Claims against Defendants’ Releasees. For additional information and definition of these terms, please review the Notice.Back To Top
No. If you are a Class Member, unless you excluded yourself, you give up any rights to sue the Defendants’ Releasees for any and all Released Plaintiff Claims. If you have a pending lawsuit against any of the Defendants’ Releasees, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must have excluded yourself from the Action to continue your own lawsuit.Back To Top
No. If you excluded yourself, you may not submit a Claim Form to ask for any money. But, you may exercise any right you may have to sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against the Defendants’ Releasees.Back To Top
The Court appointed the law firms of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP and Nix Patterson, LLP as Class Counsel. If you have any questions concerning the matters raised on this website or in the Notice, you may contact Class Counsel as follows:
Joshua E. D’Ancona, Esq.
KESSLER TOPAZ MELTZER
& CHECK, LLP
280 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
Jeffrey J. Angelovich, Esq.
NIX PATTERSON, LLP
3600 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.
Austin, TX 78746
Unless you elect to retain your own personal lawyer you will not have any direct obligations to pay the costs of the litigation. If the Settlement is approved by the Court, all costs and expenses of the Action, including Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees, will be paid from that recovery in an amount approved by the Court. As set forth in FAQ 16 below, if you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
Yes. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. If you decide to hire an attorney, it will be at your own expense, and that attorney must have filed a notice of appearance with the Court and served it on Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel at the addresses noted in FAQ 18 below so that the notice was received on or before July 1, 2020.Back To Top
On June 17, 2020, Class Counsel applied to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of Litigation Expenses. On July 24, 2020, the Court granted the motion for attorneys' fees and Litigation Expenses; you can review this Order here.
Any award related to Class Counsel’s motion for fees and Litigation Expenses will be paid from the Settlement Fund prior to allocation and payment to Authorized Claimants. Class Members are not personally liable for any such attorneys’ fees or expenses.Back To Top
The deadline to object has passed. Your objection must have been received on or before July 1, 2020.Back To Top
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can still recover money from the Settlement. You can object only if you did not request exclusion from the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you excluded yourself, you cannot object to the Settlement because it does not affect you.Back To Top
The Court held its hearing on the fairness of the Settlement and related matters on July 22, 2020 and found the Settlement to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” pursuant to Rule 23(e). You can view this Order here.Back To Top
No. You did not have to attend the Settlement Fairness Hearing. The Court considered all submissions, even if a Class Member did not attend the hearing.Back To Top
The Settlement Fairness Hearing was held on July 22, 2020.Back To Top
Each timely and valid Claim Form submitted will have a Recognized Loss Amount calculated in accordance with the Plan of Allocation, which is described in the Notice. In order to have a Recognized Loss Amount under the Plan of Allocation, a person or entity must have purchased or otherwise acquired SeaWorld publicly traded common stock during the Class Period (i.e., between August 29, 2013 and August 12, 2014) and held such SeaWorld common stock through the alleged corrective disclosure on August 13, 2014 that removed alleged artificial inflation related to that information. Full details on the calculation of Recognized Loss Amounts can be found in the Plan of Allocation.
The Plan of Allocation is located in Appendex A in the Notice.Back To Top
The CUSIP during the Class Period was 81282V100 and the ticker symbol was SEAS.Back To Top
You needed to include documentation to support each transaction in SeaWorld common stock set forth in the Claim Form. Acceptable supporting documentation consists of documents showing the number of SeaWorld common stock that were purchased/acquired and/or sold during the Class Period (i.e., between August 29, 2013 and August 12, 2014), as well as the dates, number of shares, and prices of each such purchase/acquisition and/or sale. Documentation establishing membership in the Class must consist of copies of brokerage confirmation slips or monthly brokerage account statements, or an authorized statement from the Claimant's broker containing the transactional and holding information found in a broker confirmation slip or account statement. Stock certificates may be used to support the amount of SeaWorld common stock held at the beginning or end of the Class Period, but they are not evidence for when and how much the SeaWorld common stock were purchased or acquired.Back To Top