Carlyle Backs Down On Lawsuit Ban

Feb 3 2012 | 1:31pm ET

The Carlyle Group has abandoned its attempt to ban shareholders from filing class-action lawsuits.

The Washington, D.C.-based private equity giant had hoped to force all shareholders to settle claims against it at arbitration. The clause was inserted in the firm’s IPO documents and looked set to delay a much-anticipated stock sale.
“After consultations with the SEC, Carlyle investors and other interested parties, we have decided to withdraw the proposed arbitration provision,” Christopher Ullman, a Carlyle spokesman, told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. “We first offered the provision because we believed that arbitrating claims would be more efficient, cost effective and beneficial to our unitholders.”
Gary M. Paul, president of the American Association for Justice, issued a statement in response to Carlyle’s decision, saying:
“With the investor community, lawmakers, and former SEC officials speaking out against the use of forced arbitration in Carlyle’s proposed IPO, it was evident that this was an ill-conceived move from the start.  Corporations intent on skirting accountability have used forced arbitration as a weapon to hide wrongdoing and deny legal recourse to countless workers and consumers. Today’s developments should send a strong signal to other companies that forced arbitration clauses will not be accepted by investors or the SEC.”

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