Northwest Pipe poised to settle shareholder lawsuits

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Vancouver-based Northwest Pipe Co. is poised to settle several shareholder lawsuits — including complaints against former company executives — that are connected to financial errors the company announced in 2009, the company said Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton is expected to decide settlement terms on March 22, Northwest Pipe said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the proposed terms, Northwest Pipe would implement corporate governance reforms, including tougher standards for audit committee independence and financial expertise. Northwest Pipe also agreed to pay attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling $750,000, the company said.

In August 2012, the company said it had settled four other shareholder lawsuits for $13.25 million, including a class-action complaint that accused the company and senior managers of accounting fraud.

In other news, Northwest Pipe said it has appointed Duke Watson, previously a sales team leader in the oil and gas industry, as vice president of sales for the company’s tubular products group.