Federal Judge rules against SandRidge employees in lawsuit over lost retirement savings

A lawsuit filed by SandRidge Energy Company employees against SandRidge Energy and Reliance Trust Co. in a fight over lost retirement savings has been won by the company.

In a ruling in Oklahoma City U.S. District Court, Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti ruled against the employees who had accused SandRidge Energy leaders and Reliance Trust of breaching their fiduciary duties. The suit was filed 3 years ago as the workers contended they lost money because SandRidge retained its common stock as an investment option in the retirement plan despite its loss in value as the firm entered bankruptcy.

They filed suit against SandRidge Energy, its corporate officers and founder Tom Ward along with the Trust company. The suit contended those in charge of the SandRidge Energy, Inc. 401 (k) plan knew that the company stock “was a risky investment and the Company was headed toward bankruptcy.”

The employees’ claims against SandRidge failed because they didn’t satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court’s heightened pleading standard for allegations of fiduciary breach involving employer stock losses, the judge said Nov. 8.

Ward’s attorneys argued he should not have been named in the lawsuit because he was a fiduciary for just 321 days out of the 1,523 days involved in the suit. The attorneys claimed that every purchase of stock made by the participants during the 321 days could have been sold for a profit.