Shareholders file class action suit against SeaWorld

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Last month, a New York City law firm announced that it was exploring the possibility of a class-action lawsuit against SeaWorld. The Rosen Firm, which specializes in securities litigation, announced recently that it has officially filed suit against the marine park for failing to disclose to investors that park earnings were declining due to negative publicity surrounding the controversial documentary Blackfish. In August, the park revealed that it had suffered a nearly 33 percent drop in stock prices due to the film's claims. The suit insists that, rather than come clean to investors about the impact the movie was having on profits, SeaWorld kept making excuses for plummeting stock prices.

Part of the suit rests on the assumption that the park agrees with the film that it "improperly cared for and mistreated its orca population," which the park has vehemently denied over and over again.

"According to the lawsuit, Sea World failed to disclose in its IPO documents that it (a) had improperly cared for and mistreated its Orca population which adversely impacted trainer and audience safety; (b) continued to feature and breed an Orca that had killed and injured numerous trainers; and (c) consequently created material uncertainties and risks existing at the time of IPO that could adversely impact attendance at its family oriented parks," the Rosen Firm announced on its site. "When details of the Company’s improper practices were revealed by the documentary film Blackfish, the lawsuit claims that SeaWorld misled investors by claiming the decrease in attendance at its parks were caused by Easter holiday and other factors.  The complaint asserts that the decline in attendance was caused by the mounting negative publicity from the improper practices at SeaWorld that were revealed by the Blackfish film."

In mid-August, SeaWorld also announced plans for massive improvements and upgrades to its orca habitats – but its CEO Jim Atchison insisted later that same month that the decision to do so had nothing to do with backlash from the film.

Hollywood Reporter has a good piece on the suit here, and you can read the complaint below, which the Reporter uploaded to Scribd.com.

  Seaworld

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