A shareholding company launched a lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard's board of directors earlier this week, claiming they bungled their fiduciary duties over the departure of CEO Mark Hurd.
The suit, filed in the Santa Clara County Superior Court, claims the way the board handled Hurd's resignation over expenses claims related to his relationship with an actress-turned-marketing-bunny contributed to a significant drop in HP's share price.
“HP lost significant credibility and the market punished HP (and its shareholders) upon the revelation of Hurd’s termination,” the complaint filed on Tuesday alleges.
The shareholder-derivative suit says $9 billion was wiped off the value of the company's shares in the aftermath, costing the complainant - the Brockton Contributory Retirement System - real money. The shareholder says it is acting of behalf of HP and any punitive damages it may secure as a result of the suit would be paid to HP.
The suit wants the directors to repay the estimated $35 million Hurd trousered on his exit from the company and seeks to make changes in how the company is run, demanding that the CEO and chairman roles should not be filled by the same individual
The complainant reckons shareholders should have been been informed of the investigation into Hurd when it was instigated.
The case is Brockton Contributory Retirement System v. Andreessen, 110cv179356, filed in the Superior Court of California in the County of Santa Clara.