NEW YORK, Sept. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (“Hawaiian Electric” or the “Company”) (NYSE: HE) and certain officers. The class action, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and docketed under 23-cv-04332, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons and entities other than Defendants that purchased or otherwise acquired Hawaiian Electric securities between February 28, 2019 and August 16, 2023, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to recover damages caused by Defendants’ violations of the federal securities laws and to pursue remedies under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against the Company and certain of its top officials.
If you are a shareholder who purchased or otherwise acquired Hawaiian Electric securities during the Class Period, you have until October 23, 2023 to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class. A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com. To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 7980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.
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Hawaiian Electric, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the electric utility, banking, and non-regulated renewable/sustainable infrastructure investment businesses in the state of Hawaii. The Company provides service to 95% of Hawaiian residents and operates in three segments, including the Electric Utility segment, which engages in the production, purchase, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.
Complaint alleges that, 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) Hawaiian Electric’s wildfire prevention and safety protocols and procedures were inadequate to meet the challenges for which they were ostensibly designed; (ii) accordingly, despite knowing the degree of risk that wildfires posed to Maui, the Company’s inadequate safety protocols and procedures placed Maui at a heightened risk of devastating wildfires; and (iii) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
In early August 2023, a series of severe wildfires broke out in Hawaii, predominantly on the island of Maui. The most destructive fire began in West Maui near the town of Lahaina on the morning of August 8, 2023. By that afternoon, intense winds had knocked down approximately 30 utility poles throughout Maui, resulting in at least 15 separate outages impacting more than 12,400 customers. Moreover, videos captured by local residents showed that downed power lines belonging to Hawaiian Electric appeared to have ignited at least several of the fires. Ultimately, the wind-driven fires prompted evacuations, caused widespread damage, and have killed at least 114 people, with some 850 others still missing in Lahaina.
On August 12, 2023, news outlets began reporting that Hawaiian Electric lacked the proper policies and procedures to mitigate the impact of the wildfires. Specifically, it was revealed that, at the time the wildfires began, the Company did not maintain a public power shutoff plan—i.e., a plan in which electricity is intentionally cut off to areas where strong wind events could cause the fires to spread.
On this news, Hawaiian Electric’s stock price fell $10.94 per share, or 33.76%, to close at $21.46 per share on August 14, 2023.
Then, on August 16, 2023, the Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) reported that Hawaiian Electric is meeting with firms that specialize in restructuring advisory work, exploring options for the various financial and legal challenges that the Company faces as a consequence from the Maui wildfires.
Finally, on August 17, 2023, the WSJ reported that Hawaiian Electric had for years been aware of the threat posed by wildfire but waited years to act. Indeed, the WSJ stated that between 2019 and 2022 the Company spent less than $245,000 on wildfire-specific projects on Maui and did not seek state approval to raise utility rates to pay for broad wildfire safety improvements until 2022.
Following the publication of the WSJ articles, Hawaiian Electric’s stock price fell $2.54 per share, or 17.43%, to close at $12.03 per share on August 17, 2023.
Pomerantz LLP, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, Pomerantz pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 85 years later, Pomerantz continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered billions of dollars in damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomlaw.com.
Robert S. Willoughby
888-476-6529 ext. 7980