Les Moonves won’t be charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, and the independent investigations CBS Corp’s board has instigated over allegations of sexual misconduct against the CEO are ongoing, but an angry shareholder wants to take the company and its top execs to court.
“Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies,” says Gene Samit in a filing Monday seeking to kick off a class action suit against Moonves, CBS COO Joseph Ianniello and CBS Corp itself over the response to claims leveled by a half a dozen women against Moonves in a damning July 27 New Yorker piece.
“On this new, CBS’s stock price fell $3.52, or 6.12%, to close at $54.01 on July 27, 2018,” the paperwork prepared by the NYC and Chicago offices of Pomerantz LLP states. “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.”
CBS Corp declined comment when contacted by Deadline today about the federal complaint that seeks a jury trial.
Almost a month after the Moonves allegations went public and as the company continues to lock legal horns with Shari Redstone and National Amusements over who controls the media organization and a possible re-merger with Viacom, the stock today stands at around $53.64.
Such shareholder suits as this usually come one after another when a company and its boss face the unsteady footing CBS appears to be on. While a few result in actual settlements, they usually go nowhere fast or get piled under paperwork.
In this case, Samit and his attorneys are putting their shoulder into the idea that the CEO and COO “made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) CBS executives, including the Company’s CEO, Defendant Moonves, had engaged in widespread workplace sexual harassment at CBS; (ii) CBS’s enforcement of its own purported policies was inadequate to prevent the foregoing conduct; (iii) the foregoing conduct, when revealed, would foreseeably subject CBS to heightened legal liability and impede the ability of key CBS personnel to execute the Company’s business strategy.”
As we said, nothing from CBS so far, but don’t be surprised if when it does say something it will be a variation of what Moonves said last month.
“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” the still CBS chief was quoted as saying in the New Yorker’s July 27 story in a statement. “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”