Attorney admissions
case information
Court information
Forms and manuals
Judge information and conduct
Jury and naturalization services
Local rules and standing orders
Representing yourself
No text
Other links

Royal Ahold

DESCRIPTION OF THE LITIGATION MDL 1539 was assigned to the District of Maryland by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 18, 2003. It involves claims under the federal securities law and ERISA arising out of an announcement by Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (Royal Ahold) on February 24, 2003 that it was restating earnings for certain years based on recently-discovered accounting issues at its wholly-owned subsidiary, U.S. Foodservice, Inc., located in Columbia, Maryland. On October 3, 2003, Royal Ahold reported a $1.4 billion loss for 2002 under Dutch accounting standards based on the issues discovered at U.S. Foodservice and other transactions involving its Argentine Disco SA subsidiary. The plaintiffs are U.S. and foreign purchasers of Royal Ahold common stock on foreign exchanges and purchasers of Ahold American Depository Receipts (ADRs) on domestic exchanges. They include a number of large pension systems and financial institutions, which claim substantial investment losses. All cases have been centralized in the District of Maryland before Judge Catherine C. Blake. On November 4, 2003, the Public Employees’’ Retirement Association of Colorado and Generic Trading of Philadelphia, LLC (COPERA-Generic) were chosen as lead plaintiffs for the Securities actions. The foreign investor with the largest loss, Union Asset Management Holding AG, also will have a role in the prosecution of the securities litigation, by assisting the lead plaintiffs and their appointed counsel in addressing issues that are specific to the foreign investors. The lead plaintiffs for the ERISA actions are Peter J. Manhoff, Mark Frazier, James Pattersall Dare, and Michael Lane. Named as defendants in both the Securities and ERISA actions are Royal Ahold; U.S. Foodservice; Ahold USA Inc.; Ahold USA Holdings, Inc.; Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Deloitte & Touche Accountants; and several individual corporate officers. Also named as defendants in the Consolidated Amended Securities Class Action Complaint filed February 17, 2004 are ABN AMRO Rothschild; ABN AMRO Holding N.V.; ING Bank N.V.; Rabo Securities, N.V.; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; Kempen & Co. N.V.; and Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. Named as additional defendants in the Amended and Consolidated Complaint for Violation of ERISA are Peapod, Inc. and Benjamin & Birkenstein, P.C.

On December 21, 2004, motions to dismiss in the Securities Actions were granted as to Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Deloitte & Touche Accountants; the underwriters; and several individual defendants. A motion to amend the complaint is pending.

On June 16, 2006, the court granted final approval of a $1.1 billion dollar settlement of the securities class action claims against Royal Ahold and related defendants (other than Deloitte & Touche).

On February 12, 2007, the court granted final approval of a $2.5 million dollar settlement of the ERISA class action.