IPALCO Co. Stock Suit Moves on to Trial

August 15, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Workers suing an Indianapolis power company won a significant legal battle when a federal judge ruled the workers' allegations executives dumped company stock before a merger can move forward to trial.

US District Judge David Hamilton of the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied the request by IPALCO, the parent company of Indianapolis Power and Light Co. to throw out the class action suit filed on behalf of some 2,000 former and current IPALCO employees, according to an Indianapolis Star report.

The suit stems from a 2001 merger between the local power company and AES Corp.and executives’ decision to reach into workers’ 401(k) plans and swap relatively stable IPALCO stock for more volatile shares in AES, according to news reports. The workers charged that IPALCO’s top executives also made millions by dumping their stock before prices plummeted.

Hamilton also turned away workers’ request to resolve the lawsuit in their favor and denied a company move to bar more than 400 workers from compensation on the grounds they had forfeited their rights to sue when they accepted an early retirement.

Mitch Daniels was among the IPALCO officials who voted to approve the sale and later sold shares worth $71 million. The merger became a campaign issue last year in his successful bid for governor.

Hamilton’s opinion in Nelson v. IPALCO Enterprises, IP02-0477-C-H/K, is  here .