First Solar hit with investor lawsuit
First Solar Inc. has been hit with an investor lawsuit in federal court, alleging the solar panel manufacturer mislead investors over how much it would cost to replace defective panels.
Tempe-based First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced last month during its 2011 annual financial statement it was taking a $164 million loss on panels that it has to replace because they were defective.
The lawsuit, filed by Chicago-based law firm Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross LLP on behalf of shareholder Mark Smilovits, sought unspecified damages in the case filed March 15 in federal court in Arizona.
First Solar officials denied the charges in the lawsuit.
“We believe the suit is without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” said Ted Meyer, vice president of communications for First Solar.
The lawsuit also names Mike Ahearn, the company’s chairman and interim CEO; former CEO Rob Gillette; CFO Mark Widmar; former utility division head Jens Meyerhoff; and former Chief Accounting Officer James Zhu.
The lawsuit accuses First Solar of hiding the scope of the manufacturing flaws that may lead to more than $253 million in replacement costs for its thin-film panels.
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