A Multnomah County judge has approved a settlement in a class action suit involving the 1989 merger of Utah Power & Light Co. with Portland-based PacifiCorp.
The settlement calls for payments of about 9 cents per share for as many as 140,000 holders of UP&L stock at the time of the January 1989 merger. UP&L shareholders filed suit in December, claiming that they had been deprived of a quarterly dividend as a result of the merger.But Barnes Ellis, a lawyer for PacifiCorp, said Wednesday that only 61 percent of the eligible shareholders have filed claims to receive payments. He estimated the final payment in the suit would amount to $3.2 million.
PacifiCorp officials said the terms of the merger had been approved by UP&L directors and were designed to give equal treatment to all shareholders of the two utilities.
Ellis said PacifiCorp agreed to the settlement "mostly to keep good relations with the shareholders." The complaint had sought $35.3 million on behalf of the class.
Edward Haber, a Boston lawyer whose firm filed the suit, said he had received no written objections to the settlement.
The judge also approved $300,000 in attorney fees to be paid to the plaintiffs' lawyers out of the settlement total. He refused a request by Haber to increase the amount to $540,000.
PacifiCorp is a diversified utility company that derives 59 percent of its $3.7 billion in annual revenue from providing electric service in seven Western states.
The 1989 merger made the Portland-based company the third largest electric utility west of the Rocky Mountains.