Pension Fund Scores $434m Settlement Victory Against Under Armour, Shaking up Sportswear Industry

Aberdeen, Scotland – In a significant legal development, lawyers representing a pension fund for workers in three Scottish councils have secured a $434 million settlement from Under Armour, a US sportswear company. The North East Scotland Pension Fund (NESPF) oversees a scheme for 71,000 workers across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and Moray councils. This fund had made substantial investments in Under Armour stocks but claimed that the company had made false statements about its products, leading to the lawsuit.

The proposed settlement, pending court approval, comes just weeks before a scheduled jury trial in the United States. NESPF has been actively involved as the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Under Armour—a legal tactic where one plaintiff represents a larger group of individuals who have faced similar losses due to the actions of a company.

Mark Solomon, a partner at the US firm Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd LLP, and legal counsel for NESPF, emphasized the importance of this outcome, stating that it sends a strong message to the directors and officers of public companies. The settlement, which is nearly 50 times greater than previous penalties imposed, highlights the role played by pension funds in holding companies accountable for their actions.

Under Armour, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and founded by former college football player Kevin Plank, faced allegations that it consistently denied. The company clarified that the settlement, while not an admission of fault or wrongdoing, was a strategic decision considering the costs and risks associated with prolonged litigation. If approved, the settlement would resolve all claims against Under Armour and other involved parties.

Mehri Shadman, the company’s chief legal officer and corporate secretary, reiterated their stance on the matter, stating that they believe their sales practices, accounting practices, and disclosures were appropriate. The settlement announcement allows the company to move forward from this longstanding issue, providing clarity and certainty for their business as they focus on strategic priorities. This development signifies a significant resolution for both the pension fund and Under Armour, bringing closure to a complex legal battle that spanned several years.

As the legal process moves forward, both parties hope to put this matter behind them and focus on their respective goals and responsibilities. The settlement serves as a reminder of the accountability expected from companies towards their investors and the importance of transparent and ethical business practices in the corporate world.