A lawsuit filed in March of last year against former Toys “R” Us (TRU) executives continues to creep slowly toward a trial.
As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, attorneys representing the TRU Creditors Litigation Trust are continuing their push to put former TRU leadership on trial in front of a Jury. The focus leans heavily on the much-discussed bonuses received by certain TRU executives in the days prior to the former toy giant filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2017.
A jury trial was one of the initial requests in the 111-page complaint that was filed in New York last year, alleging “fraud, misrepresentation, and deceit,” “negligent misrepresentation,” “negligent concealment and negligent omission,” and various other breaches of fiduciary duty by some of the company’s top executives and corporate directors from its private equity owners — including KKR, Bain Capital, and Vornado Realty Trust — in connection with the bankruptcy and liquidation of the retailer as it played out between 2017-2019.
Last August, The Toy Association — which maintains a Toys “R” Us Bankruptcy Information hub — reported that the case had moved from New York to Virginia and that some Association members had received subpoenas.
In an update issued for members of the TRU Creditors Litigation Trust last month, attorneys for the Trust revealed the filing of a Second Amended Complaint. The Trust is pursuing two categories of claims: “(i) Creditor claims against the former TRU directors and officers for fraud, intentional and negligent misrepresentations, and concealments, and (ii) Claims belonging to TRU against its former directors and officers for breach of fiduciary duties.”
Defendants in the suit include former Toys “R” Us CEO and Chairman of the Board David Brandon; former Chief Financial Officer Michael Short; and Richard Barry, who served as executive vice president and global chief merchandising officer. Other defendants include Joshua Bekenstein and Matthew S. Levin of Bain Capital; Paul E. Raether and Nathaniel H. Taylor of KKR; Joseph Macnow and Wendy A. Silverstein of Vornado Realty Trust; and Richard Goodman.
The court dismissed a motion by the defendants to have the case thrown out, and a recent motion to have statements by Brandon, Short, and Barry considered “classified.”
A trial by jury is set to begin on November 1, 2021.
TRU Kids Inc — current owner of the Toys “R” Us brand — is listed as a Class B beneficiary of the TRU Creditors Litigation Trust. Attorneys at Dovel & Luner are representing the Trust in this case in hopes of recovering nearly $800 million to cover goods shipped to TRU in the weeks prior to its liquidation.