NEW YORK, April 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, reminds investors that class actions have been commenced on behalf of stockholders of Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL), and United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI). Stockholders have until the deadlines below to petition the court to serve as lead plaintiff. Additional information about each case can be found at the link provided.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC)
Class Period: October 28, 2020 - March 3, 2023
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: May 15, 2023
Norfolk Southern is a rail transportation company that implemented a strategy known as “Precision Scheduled Railroading” (“PSR”), which is associated with hyper-efficient operational changes designed to increase revenues and decrease costs. Operational changes typically include reductions in staff; longer, heavier trains that can stretch up to miles in length; and tighter schedules.
The Norfolk Southern class action lawsuit alleges that defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Norfolk Southern’s PSR, including its use of longer, heavier trains staffed by fewer personnel, had led to Norfolk Southern suffering increased train derailments and a materially increased risk of future derailments; (ii) Norfolk Southern’s PSR was part of a culture of increased risk-taking at the expense of reasonable safety precautions due to Norfolk Southern’s near-term focus solely on profits; (iii) Norfolk Southern’s PSR rendered Norfolk Southern more vulnerable to train derailments and train derailments with potentially more severe human, financial, legal, and environmental consequences; (iv) Norfolk Southern’s capital spending and replacement programs were designed to prioritize profits over Norfolk Southern’s ability to provide safe, efficient, and reliable rail transportation services; (v) Norfolk Southern’s lobbying efforts had undermined Norfolk Southern’s ability to provide safe, efficient, and reliable rail transportation services; (vi) Norfolk Southern’s commitment to reducing operating expenses as part of its PSR goals undermined worker safety and Norfolk Southern’s purported “commitment to an injury-free workplace” because Norfolk Southern’s PSR plan prioritized reducing expenses through fewer personnel, longer trains, and less spending on safety training, technology, and equipment such as hot bearing wayside detectors (a/k/a “hotboxes”) and acoustic sensors; (vii) Norfolk Southern’s rail services were, as a result of its adoption of PSR principles, more susceptible to accidents that could cause serious economic and bodily harm to Norfolk Southern, its workers, its customers, third parties, and the environment; and (viii) Norfolk Southern had failed to put in place responsive practices and procedures to minimize the threat to communities in the event that these communities suffered the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous and toxic materials.
On February 3, 2023, eastbound Norfolk Southern Railway Company general merchandise freight train 32N derailed 38 railcars in East Palestine, Ohio, leaving behind what the Associated Press called “a mangled and charred mass of boxcars and flames.” The derailed equipment included 11 tank cars carrying hazardous materials that subsequently ignited, fueling fires that damaged an additional 12 non-derailed railcars.
On February 6, 2023, responders engaged in a controlled detonation and burn of the vinyl chloride, spewing massive volumes of chemicals into the vicinity. The chemicals released from the derailment entered the air and water of the surrounding residential areas, the closest of which were only 1,000 feet from the site of the accident. On this news, the price of Norfolk Southern stock fell. Then, on February 8, 2023, after lifting a previously issued evacuation order, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stated that Norfolk Southern was “the one who created the problem. It’s their liability. They’re the ones who ought to pay for it.” Following their return, numerous residents reported hazardous air quality and other health and environmental concerns. On this news, the price of Norfolk Southern stock again fell.
Thereafter, on February 13, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency stated that it had concluded that Norfolk Southern may be responsible for the cleanup costs of the derailment site or the costs incurred by the EPA for area cleanup. On this news, the price of Norfolk Southern stock once again fell.
Next, on February 15, 2023, reports emerged that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost was considering taking legal action against Norfolk Southern over the derailment. On this news, the price of Norfolk Southern stock again fell.
Finally, on March 6, 2023, Norfolk Southern announced a 6-part plan to improve operational safety that included, among other things, adding about 200 temperature sensors along its tracks where existing sensors are at least 15 miles apart, reviewing the temperature levels that set off alarms for train crews, and adding more acoustic sensors that analyze vibrations for potential problems. On this news, the price of Norfolk Southern stock fell, further damaging investors.
For more information on the Norfolk Southern class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/NSC
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL)
Class Period: February 4, 2020 - January 23, 2023
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: May 15, 2023
Alphabet is a multinational technology conglomerate holding company. It was created through a restructuring of Google Inc. in October 2015, at which point Alphabet became the parent company of Google and several former Google subsidiaries. Alphabet is headquartered in Mountain View, California and incorporated in Delaware. The Company’s Class A and Class C shares trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbols “GOOGL” and “GOOG,” respectively.
Alphabet’s subsidiary Google is a dominant player in the field of digital advertising, to the extent that it controls the digital tools that every major website publisher uses to sell advertising space on their websites.
In recent years, Google’s dominance in this industry has drawn regulatory scrutiny. In July 2018, the European Commission (“EC”) fined Google €2.42 billion for promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results. Less than a year later, in March 2019, the EC fined Google €1.49 billion for preventing rivals from being able to “compete and innovate fairly” in the online advertising market. In June 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reported that it would investigate Google for antitrust violations. Then, in October 2020, the DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that it had abused a monopoly position in the search and search advertising markets.
Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operations, and compliance policies. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Alphabet used its dominance in the field of digital advertising to disadvantage website publishers and advertisers who used competing advertising products; (ii) the foregoing conduct was anticompetitive in nature and likely to draw significant regulatory scrutiny; (iii) Alphabet’s revenues were unsustainable to the extent that they were the product of said anticompetitive conduct; (iv) Alphabet’s conduct, once revealed, would negatively impact the Company’s reputation and expose it to a heightened risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement action; and (v) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
On January 24, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice and eight states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google subsidiary, accusing Google of illegally abusing its dominance in digital advertising and violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that “Google abuses its monopoly power to disadvantage website publishers and advertisers who dare to use competing ad tech products in a search for higher quality, or lower cost, matches.”
On this news, Alphabet’s Class A shares fell $2.09 per share, or 2.09%, to close at $97.70 per share, while its Class C shares fell $2.00 per share, or 1.98%, to close at $99.21 per share, on January 24, 2023
As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the Company’s securities, Plaintiff and other Class members have suffered significant losses and damages.
For more information on the Alphabet class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/GOOG
United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI)
Class Period: March 10, 2021 - March 7, 2023
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: May 19, 2023
United Natural Foods is a distributor of natural, organic, specialty, produce and conventional grocery and non-food products. The Company has two reportable segments: Wholesale, which includes grocery, fresh, wellness, private brands, eCommerce, and food service; and Retail, which includes 73 retail grocery stores that offer groceries, general merchandise, home, health and beauty care, and pharmacy. The Wholesale segment accounts for more than 95% of United Natural Foods’ net sales.
On March 8, 2023, before the market opened, United Natural Foods announced its second quarter 2023 financial results, revealing a $6 million decline in gross profit, despite a 6% increase in net sales. The Company stated that its profits “were challenged as we did not repeat the significant level of procurement gains from rapidly accelerating inflation and inventory gains, due to supply chain volatility, that we experienced in the second quarter of last year.”
On this news, the Company’s stock price fell $11.49, or 28.1%, to close at $29.47 per share on March 8, 2023, thereby injuring investors.
Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants failed to disclose to investors: (1) that, despite its cost saving Value Path initiative, United Natural Foods had not invested in improving its data management and related infrastructure; (2) that, as a result, the Company could not respond adequately to cost changes, such as inflationary pressure; (3) that, as a result, the Company could not appreciate the benefits of procurement gains and inventory gains achieved during fiscal 2022; (4) that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company’s profitability would be materially adversely impacted; and (5) and that as a result of the foregoing, Defendant’s positive statements about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.
For more information on the United Natural Foods class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/UNFI
About Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.:
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in New York, California, and South Carolina. The firm represents individual and institutional investors in commercial, securities, derivative, and other complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. For more information about the firm, please visit www.bespc.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.