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Judge Calls Out Signet over Suit Dispute

Investor claim will proceed as a class action.
Jul 17, 2019 10:22 AM   By Rapaport News
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A New York judge has refused to back down after ruling that Signet Jewelers’ comments about the sexual-harassment claims it was facing could be part of a class-action suit against the retailer.

On July 10, Judge Colleen McMahon ruled Signet shareholders could form a class action in their securities-fraud claim against the jeweler. The following day, Signet claimed it would seek a review of the judgment, as it disagreed with McMahon’s decision to allow the jeweler’s previous remarks downplaying the sexual-harassment lawsuit to be used as evidence in the investors’ suit.

Attorneys representing the investors asked the court to stand by its initial decision, calling Signet’s request its “sixth bite at the proverbial apple” in an effort to have the case dismissed.

“I agree with the plaintiff’s counsel — my ruling is crystal clear,” McMahon explained July 11 in a handwritten response to the owner of Kay Jewelers and Zales. “There is nothing to clarify. Your understanding is completely, totally and utterly WRONG.”

The class-action certification allows investors in Signet’s common stock to sue the company as a group. They claim it misled them about the health of its credit program and hid the potential liability it faced from the sexual-harassment suit.

The decision comes after McMahon ruled last year that statements to investors negating the severity of the claims were not offhand comments, as the jeweler explained, but a declaration of the company’s dependability and trustworthiness.

David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs, declined to comment on the case to Rapaport News.

Image:  A Kay Jewelers store. (Corey Coyle)
Tags: david bouffard, Judge Colleen McMahon, Kay Jewelers, Rapaport News, Signet, Signet Jewelers, zales
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