HOUSTON, June 11, 2014 – Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE: STC) announced today that a settlement involving approximately 500 plaintiffs representing more than 90 percent of the total number of plaintiffs has been reached, pending execution of a final settlement agreement, in the Cuesta Litigation in California. (See the Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements in the Company's first quarter 2014 Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for a full description of these cases.)
Under the terms of the settlement, Cuesta Title Company, Stewart Title of California, Inc., and Stewart Title Guaranty Company (the "Settling Defendants") have agreed to pay approximately $10.53 million to resolve the state court cases with the settling plaintiffs.
"These legal claims were originally filed in 2009," said Matt Morris, President and CEO of Stewart Information Services Corporation. "With hundreds of plaintiffs, these cases have involved substantial time, resources, and expense on pleadings, motions, discovery and the bellwether jury trial last fall involving a group of plaintiffs. Although we convincingly won that trial, the first of several scheduled, on all allegations brought by the bellwether plaintiffs and firmly believe that we have substantial legal and factual defenses to all of the plaintiffs' claims, our leadership team and Board of Directors determined that a settlement at this time is in the best interests of Stewart Information Services Corporation and its shareholders. The resolution of the cases involving the remaining plaintiffs will not materially affect our consolidated financial condition."
"By eliminating the expense and uncertainty related to this continued litigation, the settlement agreement allows us to focus on our strategic initiatives and plans for growth."
The settlement agreement involves no admission of liability or violation of law by the Settling Defendants, and bars the plaintiffs from pursuing further associated claims against the Settling Defendants.
As a result of the settlement agreement, Stewart Information Services Corporation expects to record a one-time charge of approximately $11.0 million in the second quarter ending June 30, 2014.
About Stewart Information Services
Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE: STC) is a leading provider of real estate services, including global residential and commercial title insurance, escrow and settlement services, lender services, underwriting, specialty insurance, loan due diligence, compliance solutions, service performance management and other solutions that facilitate successful real estate transactions. Stewart offers personalized service, industry expertise and customized solutions for virtually any type of real estate transaction, through our direct operations, network of approved agencies and other companies within the Stewart family. Through a focus on integrity, smart growth and conservative management, Stewart remains committed to serving our customers, innovating and improving to meet their needs in an ever-changing market.