Former employees of NuScale, a Tigard company that designs nuclear reactors, have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland, alleging the company denied them $100 million in proceeds when it went public earlier this year.
NuScale began trading under the ticker symbol SMR after a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company in May. It was valued at nearly $1.9 billion, thanks to its innovative nuclear reactor design, which was recently greenlit by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company emerged from research at Oregon State University.
The lawsuit is being brought by 13 former employees who allege that the company diluted the value of their stock without their approval using an “unlawful amendment” to an agreement between them and company. It’s similar to a lawsuit filed earlier this year, before NuScale went public, but this version is a class action on behalf of at least 600 shareholders.
They’re asking for $200 million in damages, along with the return of the money lost in the dilution.
After nearly going broke, NuScale’s founders sold a majority of the company to the Texas-based multinational conglomerate Fluor Corporation for $3.5 million in 2011. Fluor is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
“They’re screwing the employees of the company,” says Timothy DeJong of the Stoll Berne law firm, who represents the former employees, most of whom were once NuScale executives.
NuScale released a statement to WW saying the “claims are without merit” and promised to defend itself in “the appropriate forum.” Fluor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.