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Dow Jones Newswires: Plaintiffs Seek To Include Non-US Holders In Shell Suit

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Lead plaintiffs in a U.S. class action against Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) filed Wednesday a motion seeking consent for non-U.S. shareholders to join the legal action, one of the lawyer representing them said Friday.
The motion follows a preliminary decision by a New Jersey judge, in August, that permitted a plaintiffs claim to continue on behalf of both U.S. and non-U.S. investors, said John Keefe, Jr., a lawyer with Lynch Keefe Bartels.
Shell had argued shareholders who held stock on non-U.S. stock exchanges should not entitled to be proper class members, he said.
He said the plaintiffs' motion seeks a classification on the overall size and scope of the class, which could include a final decision by the judge whether to allow foreign investors to participate.
The inclusion of foreign shareholders in the class action would come after 26 Dutch public pension funds on Jan. 9 filed a separate class action seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in the U.S.
The lead plaintiffs in the class action for which the motion was filed on Wednesday are the Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System. They initially sought financial damages in 2004 after Shell's shares slumped following a series of oil-reserves cuts.
The motion, filed with a New Jersey court, says the plaintiffs want to appoint Peter Wood, a U.K. citizen resident in Andorra, as a representative for all non-U.S. shareholders who would join the case. The lawsuit is formally against Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and Shell Transport and Trading PLC, Shell's former dual parent companies which last year unified into a single structure.
Lynch Keefe Bartels is liaison counsel for the class action while Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP is the lead counsel.
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-By Benoit Faucon, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-20-7842-9266; [email protected]
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