The judge considering a Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK:US) shareholder bid to delay the company’s annual meeting set for June 8 heard more than two hours of argument without ruling on the request.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in Oklahoma City today told lawyers for both sides that she will expedite her decision on the stockholder request filed last month. The investors say they want more information on the financial dealings of Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon.
“We are focused on the duty of candor,” Matthew Houston, a shareholder attorney, told Miles-LaGrange in court. “We aren’t suggesting that the meeting be canceled. We only want it postponed.”
The Oklahoma City-based company’s shares have dropped about 34 percent since March 20 in the wake of falling gas prices and reports that McClendon was using personal stakes in the company’s wells to obtain loans.
Chesapeake climbed 43 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.95 at 2:38 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading (CHK:US).
The company opposes a delay. An attorney for Chesapeake, Robert Varian, told Miles-LaGrange that McClendon’s compensation wasn’t one of the items on the proxy ballot for the meeting and that investor concerns were therefore “irrelevant.”
Postponement would be an “extraordinary remedy,” he said.
While Miles-LaGrange didn’t say when she would rule, she said the investors must convince her that they would be irreparably harmed if the meeting went ahead as scheduled.
The case is Deborah G. Mallow IRA SEP Investment Plan v. McClendon, 12-cv-436, U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City).
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