Get used to the word Enron, it is here to stay for some time to come. As criminal cases wind their way through the courts, the trial for the class-action lawsuit filed by former employees and shareholders has been postponed again—this time to 2006.
U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon set an Oct. 16, 2006 trial date this week, which is the third time a trial date has been set. Harmon was overly optimistic back in 2002 when she set a 2003 trial date to deal with the thousands of claims filed in 2001. The 2003 date was later postponed to 2005 and now to 2006.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the enormous number of depositions to be taken and discovery to be filed is delaying the case. She has ordered 18 months of fast discovery, the Chronicle reported.
The judge and attorneys involved in the case expect that the lion’s share of it will be settled prior to trial. Both sides expect settlement to be more likely once more evidence is available to review.
As part of the Enron-related $40 million settlement with now-defunct Arthur Andersen, $15 million was set aside to pay the legal fees of plaintiffs in the class-action suit, the chronicle reported.
The Houston-based Enron imploded in 2001, taking with it the savings and jobs of many of its employees and investors who had put all their money into what was once the seventh largest company in America.