Lawsuit Vs. Cheney, Halliburton Dismissed
DALLAS (AP) _ A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused Halliburton Co. and Vice President Dick Cheney, its former chief executive, of misleading investors by changing the way the company counted revenue from construction projects.
The lawsuit was filed last year by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, on behalf of three small investors, who said the company tried to polish financial results by booking revenue on cost overruns before it was certain of getting paid.
U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay said in a one-page ruling Friday that Judicial Watch didn’t present facts that proved Halliburton misled investors about its revenue. Halliburton disclosed the judge’s ruling Monday.
Judicial Watch is considering whether to appeal the ruling to a higher court or file an updated lawsuit with information obtained since last year, said the group’s president, Tom Fitton.
``Judicial Watch has various legal options it can take to hold the vice president and Halliburton accountable,″ Fitton said.
Cheney’s office had no immediate comment.
Halliburton lawyers argued for dismissing the case during a 90-minute hearing in July. The company called the charges ``untrue, unsupported and unfounded.″
Halliburton lawyer Ronald W. Stevens said the company disclosed what it was doing in filings with regulators and that there was no evidence of fraud. He accused Judicial Watch of trying to score political points by naming Cheney as a defendant.
Houston-based Halliburton announced in May that it would pay $6 million to settle about 20 other shareholder class-action lawsuits that raised similar arguments to those used by Judicial Watch. Those lawsuits did not name Cheney as a defendant.
Cheney served as Halliburton’s top executive from 1995 until resigning in 2000 to become George W. Bush’s running mate.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is still investigating Halliburton’s decision in 1998 to change the way it accounted for revenue on cost-overrun projects.
Halliburton provides services to oil companies and has an engineering and construction arm that has won no-bid Army contracts worth more than $1.7 billion to help rebuild Iraq.
In midday trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, Halliburton shares rose 30 cents. percent, to $24.80.