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It Just Seemed Forever: Halliburton Settles Securities Fraud Case

Although it might have reasonably seemed to many plaintiffs involved in a tough and protracted litigation battle that their lawsuit alleging wrongdoing on the part of a major global company would never end, it finally did.

Late last month, in fact, when Texas oil field services behemoth Halliburton suddenly stepped forward to agree with the terms of a settlement that many people did not remotely see as being on the horizon.

The Halliburton litigation was grounded in class action securities fraud allegations brought by company investors who claimed they were defrauded by multiple misrepresentations made by company principals.

The alleged wrongdoing applied to company actions many years past. In fact, the federal lawsuit against Halliburton was ongoing since 2002 and relevant to events that the plaintiffs say occurred even years before that.

One central charge in the complaint was Halliburton's alleged inaccuracies in reporting company liability incurred and potentially arising in asbestos litigation.

The plaintiffs contended that such liability was materially understated, resulting in values of their held securities that were overinflated.

A false picture of their wealth in the company was additionally painted, they alleged, by fabricated statements regarding construction project revenues and an expected merger-related windfall.

The case reached the pinnacle of the American judicial system, with the U.S. Supreme Court twice issuing interim rulings in the matter.

Halliburton was in the process of appealing the second ruling when it ultimately agreed to settle the case, which must receive court approval before it is deemed final.

The settlement calls for a $100 million payment on behalf of Halliburton, with the company reportedly being responsible for about $54 million of that amount and an insurer paying the remainder.

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