ILNews

EnerDel parent facing shareholder legal battle

IBJ Staff
October 19, 2011
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A federal judge in New York as early as this week could chose a lead plaintiff from among at least three lawsuits accusing the parent of Indianapolis-based advanced-battery maker EnerDel of misleading investors about its financial condition.

Investors began filing the suits in August, days after New York-based Ener1 said it would restate earnings for 2010 and for the first quarter of this year.

Ener1’s 2010 financial loss of $69 million eventually was restated to a loss of $165 million.

The restatement stemmed from write-downs in the company’s investment in Norwegian electric car maker Think, which was behind in payments to Ener1 for batteries.

Think, which assembles cars in Elkhart, filed for bankruptcy this summer. It has since been been acquired by investment group led by Russian entrepreneur Boris Zingarevich, who also is a major investor in Ener1.

Smaller investors who filed suit since August allege that Ener1 made false and misleading statements about Think’s true condition and failed to make timely impairment to the value of its Think investment.

Ener1’s shares have tumbled from more than $4 a share in January, when Vice President Joe Biden visited EnerDel’s Greenfield battery plant, to about 27 cents per share in recent days. The company expressed concerns about its ability to stay afloat in regulatory documents filed in August.

According to federal court records, the largest group of investors filing suit appears to have lost an aggregate $379,891.

Proving “loss causation” in such lawsuits can be a challenge. Courts have raised the burden of proof for plaintiffs to show a misstatement caused them financial loss.

“You have to prove the information was material and that the information that was missing caused the loss,” said Irwin Levin, a partner of Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad, which has successfully prevailed in such suits over the years.

Ener1’s Indianapolis-area operations at the beginning of the year employed about 350 people. Company officials declined to comment on the recent lawsuits, saying they are in a quiet period amid the earnings-restatement process.

The Indiana operations produce lithium-ion batteries used for hybrid cars — mostly the Think — and for power-grid storage. Ener1 also has struck preliminary agreements to supply batteries for electric cars in China, and is slated to provide batteries for a Volvo hybrid station wagon.

The company applied for $290 million in federal loan guarantees and is awaiting word on approval. It previously received a $118.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.

This story originally ran in the Oct. 18, 2011, IBJ Daily, a sister publication of Indiana Lawyer.
 
 

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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