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Apple Shareholder Lawsuit Dismissed

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the hard-to-get-anything-past-them dept.

The Courts 46

explosivejared wrote with a ZDNet article about Apple's win in the shareholder stock-options backdating lawsuit. This jives with Apple's own internal investigation of the matter. "The New York City Employees Retirement System had sued Apple claiming that the company's practice of backdating stock options diluted the value of the stock. Apple has admitted that it improperly backdated stock options on several occasions, including two awards to CEO Steve Jobs, and last December it took a $84 million charge to account for the options. But the suit had to show that Apple shareholders lost money in order to recover damages ..."

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46 comments

Must have lost money (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377807)

But the suit had to show that Apple shareholders lost money in order to recover damages ...

Well, they certainly have now, with all the legal fees for this lost case!

Re:Must have lost money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21379773)

What would be ironic is if Apple had lost the case and had had to fire Steve Jobs. Then you'd have really seen "damages" and "lost money" when AAPL tanked and Apple churned out beige boxes and brown iPods.

Re:Must have lost money (1)

Lord Flipper (627481) | more than 6 years ago | (#21387033)

What would be ironic is if Apple had lost the case and had had to fire Steve Jobs

Exactly. Somebody mod the AC up.

I hope the plaintiffs paid through the ass. AAPL took a 7% 'hit' in after hours trading when the results of Apple's internal investigation (the original 'alert'), when it was posted to the SEC. ( I know, because I proofed, corrected, and posted the little 2-pager myself, part of my boring, temporary job, at the time, and I recall being tempted to snag a cell phone and call a couple guys to see if they wanted to short AAPL, and buy it back the next day... heheh, the go-to-prison idea nixed it for me). Apple recovered almost immediately.

The attorneys that handled the case had to have known it was without merit. If they didn't, and were working on a pay-only-when-we-win basis, then it's a case of the 'greedy' getting the 'stupid' to do the dirty, in which case the whole thing smacks of justice, after all.

My apple experience (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21377857)

A few years ago, while browsing around the apple store downtown, I
had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American
football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths.
I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he
washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and
married - and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with
him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated,
hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still
warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the
shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left
behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It
apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat,
stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd
- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and
wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd
always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little
clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass
and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of
devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done
it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound
turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy
and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's
handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both
hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled
like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the
consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit
without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it
smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into
my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock,
beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and
bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet
flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had
chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed
I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I
soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd
passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily,
sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My
only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down
with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the
cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more
delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with
the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But
then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There
was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished
them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my
briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the
shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever
unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an
unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using
them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my
mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit
trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six
orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out
of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could,
and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Re:My apple experience (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21385703)

Thanks dude! I know slashdot is full of rimmers, but I thought I was the only one that went all the way. It's nice to know there are others out that enjoy OS X and eating shit. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed off to starbucks to find me some supper. Wish me luck!

greedy (-1, Troll)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377935)

If those greedy bums are so upset about making all that money just because they could have made a bit more, may they should teach Jobs a lesson and backdate their own shares and sell them to me for what they paid for them. That'll teach Apple a lesson! I tell ya, I know the stock market is more or less working as intended, but the gall of some rich people who live off of interest is astounding. Pigs at the trough, man, pigs at the trough.

So basically... (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377999)

Apple did something wrong. Admits they did something wrong and paid fines. Shareholders didn't technically lose money, so they can't sue for compensation for the wrongdoing.

You'd think the shareholders would've figure out whether they actually lost money before bringing the suit. Or waited for the volatile market to drop some so they would be losing some money arguably due to the backdating, and then sued.

Re:So basically... (1)

TheRealBurKaZoiD (920500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378113)

The shareholders did lost money in the form of lowered earnings per share. Of course, that's something that can be hidden in the end-of-year income statement. Anyone know how Apple accounts for stock options? Are they still using footnote disclosure, or are they actually expensing the cost of the options using the intrinsic value method?

Re:So basically... (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378399)

It would be hard for them to convince anyone that they lost money holding AAPL [google.com] over the last 5 years.

Re:So basically... (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378145)

Minor nitpick: Apple didn't pay a fine they 'took a charge', which is an accounting adjustment. It still hurt them on paper to the tune of $84 million, but it's not exactly the same thing.

But, yeah...that's pretty much correct otherwise. In order to sue for damages, you actually have to, you know, show and prove actual damages. Duh. What kind of lawyer did these idiots hire anyway?

Re:So basically... (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378577)

Minor nitpick: Apple didn't pay a fine they 'took a charge', which is an accounting adjustment. It still hurt them on paper to the tune of $84 million, but it's not exactly the same thing.
Another nitpick: Share_holders_ were not actually damaged at all. Share options were given out, but not accounted for in the correct way. That means that paper profits were too high. This was later adjusted down by $84 million. However, the actual profit was not changed at all, just the reported profit.

You were only affected if you bought Apple after the backdating happened, assuming that Apple was worth more than it actually was, and sold after the adjustment, when everyone knew the true value. Or if you bought before the backdating, and sold afterwards, so you got more money for your shares than you should have.

If you bought before the backdating happened and kept your shares, then you wrongly believed for a few years that your shares were worth more than they actually were, but that is not damaging.

Re:So basically... (1)

ThomasSobi (897219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380435)

If you bought before the backdating happened and kept your shares, then you wrongly believed for a few years that your shares were worth more than they actually were, but that is not damaging.

I am a money manager. To say that this scandal was not damaging is ludicrous. Backdating options is literally stealing from shareholders while trying to keep them in the dark about it. This hurts the company's image tremendously and casts serious doubt on Steve Jobs' ethics. Yes, Jobs is an amazing manager. Yes, he has make a tremendous amount of money for shareholders. But do you want someone who lies about his compensation running your company? I would rather invest in companies that don't have crooks running them. And Apple shares probably would be worth more today if he would have properly accounted for the options due to investors fear of the company cooking its books.

Re:So basically... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381481)

Another nitpick: Share_holders_ were not actually damaged at all. Share options were given out, but not accounted for in the correct way. That means that paper profits were too high. This was later adjusted down by $84 million. However, the actual profit was not changed at all, just the reported profit.
I never said shareholders were, I said Apple was, but only on paper.

Re:So basically... (0, Flamebait)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378311)

Apple did something wrong.
Ridiculous! That would violate the Second Law of Mac-tonian Thermodynamics: "The Apple Computer Corporation can only become cooler over time."

Every fanboy know this.

Re:So basically... (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381303)

Oh, don't be silly. Nobody is claiming that they did not do something wrong. Nobody is even really supporting the idea that it was an innocent mistake. They should have known better, and IIRC, someone did lose their job over it.

What people are saying is that anyone who has held AAPL stock for any length of time over the last five years has made money--potentially lots of it--not lost it.

Was there a period of time where their apparent earnings were incorrectly valued at $84 million over what they should have been, and did that artificially inflate the stock value? Yes and probably. Was it wrong? Yes. Should people be able to sue for damages because they only made $10,000 off their investment instead of $15,000? I could probably argue both sides, but the story here is that the courts have said no.

For those people who are calling Jobs a crook and saying that he should be axed for this, I can probably see both sides of the equation. But I highly doubt that this was a planned attempt on his part to defraud anybody. Backdating options isn't illegal; reporting it incorrectly is, and that was the problem. It was fixed, and the hit to the stock value probably hit Jobs more than any other single shareholder. And gee, not that I want to see a criminal running a company I've invested in, but I think he's paid his dues, and if he were to leave, I think it's likely that AAPL would take a pretty significant dive, hurting shareholders more.

Just my $0.02

Re:So basically... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378363)

Public accounting 101.

Chapter 1: Balance Sheet

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders Equity

Your company occurs a fine. So to Pay off the fine they will need cash to do it. To keep the Balance Sheet Balanced they will need need to Reduce Cash by the fine amount and take the money away from Shareholders Equity.

So yes they lost money. The Shareholder my not had it directly effect their bank account but if Apple Decided to call a quits or got bought by Dell then they would receive less from their portion of ownership.

Re:So basically... (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378627)

So yes they lost money. The Shareholder my not had it directly effect their bank account but if Apple Decided to call a quits or got bought by Dell then they would receive less from their portion of ownership.
You are completely wrong. Apple did not pay a fine at all. Apple corrected their profit numbers which had been calculated incorrectly. And you may not believe it, but Apple actually benefits from this financially: Since it was found out that options were backdated, Apples profits were less than everyone (including Apple) assumed, so Apple paid too much in taxes, which they now get back. On the other hand, those people who received the options received more from Apple than they had believed, so they made more profit than believed, and they have to pay taxes for the difference.

Re:So basically... (3, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381691)

This deals with options the company grants to employees, which are an expense, but one paid (eventually) with shares of the company. The options were granted with value, which should have been reflected on the income statement, but the value won't be paid directly, rather the company will create and issue new shares which don't have a "cost" to the company, but reduce the proportion of ownership that the remaining shareholders own. Apple said the options were issued on a certain day with the price on that day as the strike price, (which accountants still allow to be called a no cost transaction) but the options were actually issued later when the stock was at a higher price.
This is especially interesting because when back dated options are granted to employees, fewer shares are required (because the options are already in the money) so the ultimate hit to other shareholders is smaller, but accountants would require an expense be created reducing current earnings, so the company decieved the accountants and shareholders on the day the options were granted.

Re:So basically... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386415)

Apple did something wrong. Admits they did something wrong and paid fines. Shareholders didn't technically lose money, so they can't sue for compensation for the wrongdoing.

You'd think the shareholders would've figure out whether they actually lost money before bringing the suit.
This is America: If you sue somebody you can make money - thus if you don't sue, you lose that money.

Pigs at the trough? (1)

acebyte (28038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378029)

Yeah, those retired New York City public workers are real capitalist swine (read the article).

Pensions make up massive amounts of the stock market through sheer weight of numbers, it's hardly a bad call making sure they're getting everything they should for their members retirement funds, is it?

Re:Pigs at the trough? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378569)

Pensions make up massive amounts of the stock market through sheer weight of numbers, it's hardly a bad call making sure they're getting everything they should for their members retirement funds, is it?

Furthermore the pension fund managers have a very strict legal duty to safeguard the members' money. It's their job to launch these kinds of lawsuits.

Re:Pigs at the trough? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21384961)

I'd say that it's their job to be pretty certain of success before launching these kind of lawsuits. The costs for this failure will be borne by the members, who will see a reduced retirement fund now.

The legal-action door is still open, but I'd be surprised if they proceed with any further cases, given their original was judged to have had no merit.

If I were a member, I'd be pretty upset with the current crop of bozos running the fund. After all, the share price wasn't hurt by the backdating so I would not have lost any money. Well, until this case was brought with all its attendant legal fees.

US control of everyting/anything in doubt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21378077)

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the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
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beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost/forgotten.

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what i like about slashdot.. (1)

cies (318343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378109)

this is what i like about slashdot, they also tell you how things end.

most news sources rant big on 'scandals', 'big changes', etc. but the news that it all ended with out much effect does usually not make it to a head line.

thank you slashdot.

Re:what i like about slashdot.. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21378219)

Right. You know what I like about slashdot? If this was M$ slashdot would be wanting to sue the shit out of them. Instead it is apple so they can do no wrong. Fuck slashdot.

Re:what i like about slashdot.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378913)

Well I think it is an issue that Apple Right now is delivering better quality products then the rest of the competition right now... If you have been reading slashdot from say a decade ago, we were much more critical of Apple. eg "No Wirelsess, Less Space then Nomad... LAME" You can state we care about the politics and stuff but it really comes down to who is delivering the best product at the time. Even most of the Open Source Zealots they will support FSF no matter how evil they turn out to be. They will just change their views to match FSF, just as long they are able to get software for Free (as in beer). If apple falls in a slump and starts releasing increasingly outdated hardware and software then Slashot will generally go back to hating Apple. If Microsoft started creating some real software that was actually very high quality then Slashdot in time will start supporting Microsoft much like a lot of us did during the time before Slashdot and Linux. I know I was a MS Fan Boy from Late 80-Early 90s, then I came a Linux Zealot from Mid 90s-2000, then I became a Unix Geek 2000-2002, then I became an Apple Fan from 2002-Present (I try not to be a Fanboy Apple defiantly is not perfect and there is much room for improvement).
The progression kinda followed the following reasoning.
DOS to Linux: I didn't care for Windows or GUI Interfaces, because they were slow and clunky.
Linux to Unix: While working on my Computer Science Degree I have been writing some code that pushed the system to the edges of the OS I wanted a Sun System that would handle insane stuff with heavy loads and Linux at that time just couldn't handle it. Also during this time I started to realize that Graphics mode with newer Video Cards were just as fast if not faster then text only mode for most jobs.

Unix to Mac: It was mostly a desire to have a Laptop Computer, But I wanted a Unix Laptop. Apple was the closest thing to a Unix laptop. While Using my Sun almost exclusively in XWindows going to a Mac GUI wasn't a big deal just as long as I had my terminal. While using the Mac I found that I used the terminal less often then before and most of the GUI actually made me work Better, where Using the Linux/Unix and Windows GUI was more of a hindrance then a help. Also Macs Worked better on windows networks then Linux or Unix and worked better with Unix and Linux Networks then Windows so I found it to be the most flexible system I have, I am now on My Second Mac which is a big thing because I normally change computers manufactures every time with different OS's.

As for the future who knows... Macs are showing some signs of slight quality problem (A bit more Plastic, or cheaper parts...) Perhaps Ill go to Windows 7, or Maybe back to Linux. Or Ill stop using computers all together and do all my computing on my Telephone... Who knows.

Jives? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378241)

Eh? Trying to be hip is it. Why not 'agrees with', or even 'has the same findings as'.

'Jives' is not a particularly useful term to use when describing financial dealings.

[/mutter]

They meant "Jibes" (2, Informative)

Shag (3737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378495)

(The definition about being in accord or agreeing.)

It's an easy typo... but a lot of people just don't realize those are two very different words.

Re:Jives? (1)

ricosalomar (630386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379299)

Arrr, that's "Jibes", for we be comin' about, with the wind aft, matey.

When a nautical term is called for, why not make every day September 19th?

Re:Jives? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379361)

'Jives' is not a particularly useful term to use when describing financial dealings.

As in the following financial dealng?

Give me the fucking money, you jive-ass muthafucka!

Seems perfect in that context, and as someone else has pointed out, the word they were looking for was 'jibes', which normally has the sense of not agreeing with.

Re:Jives? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380245)

'Jives' is not a particularly useful term to use when describing financial dealings.

Right, because of course, "jibe" is part of the Queen's English that they use in the world of finance!

"Jive" can refer to "b:The jargon of jazz musicians and enthusiasts". It's not unreasonable to read it metaphorically to mean "is compatible with", since two people talking "jive" are compatible with each other. The first time I heard "jibes" I thought the person was saying "jives" for this very reason.

One of the dumbest lawsuits (1)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378271)


Apple shareholders have been raking it in. The stock is up about 28x in the last 4.5 years. If you had invested $50K in April of 2003 you'd be sitting on $1.43M today. A shareholder suing Apple for losing money? Maybe they meant that they didn't make all the money they could have if had not sold out early. What an ungrateful bunch!

Re:One of the dumbest lawsuits (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380061)

Strictly speaking, only Apple shareholders who have owned the stock for that long made all that money. Those who bought in when they thought that the company was more profitable than it really was overpaid for it based on bad information.

Not that I'm happy about these idiots. I really have owned stock for that long and any money the company spends fighting the lawsuit is really my money. But short-term share-holders really could be screwed by financial mis-reporting, and long-term shareholders depend on those short-termers to provide liquidity for our shares. So we can't just dismiss them out of hand. The market needs to be priced fairly.

I'm glad the lawsuit is gone, and I do think these guys are being stupid, but I'm not charging them with ingratitude. I'm charging them with being suckered by yet another one of those class-action law firms who make 80% of the money out of these suits.

The suit is ridiculous (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378351)

Since Jobs came back to Apple, the company's revenues, share price and market cap have all risen dramatically. Anyone that invested in Apple when the future of the company was in doubt, when Jobs first arrived back in the 1990s, would have done quite handsomely by now. I wish I would have bought stock in the company back then.

To argue that somehow Jobs did something to hurt Apple stock is ridiculous. I might just have to go out and buy a Mac in protest!

It jives? Really? Does anyone here speak jive? (1)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378531)

Do any of the Apple Shareholders speak jive? Where's June Cleaver?! (I think the word is supposed to be "jibes")

w00Nt fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21378613)

endlees conflict ANOTHER SPECIAL Grandstanders, the

Great... (-1)

Dr. Slacker (31348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378741)

Insider trading is now legal as long as you don't go through a regulated broker, i.e. your CFO. I guess that's why Martha Stewart is not a billionaire and Steve is.

Re:Great... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379777)

Your statement is so wrong and such a non-sequitor, that I assume you accidentally replied to the wrong article.

Re:Great... (0, Redundant)

Dr. Slacker (31348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21386701)

So stock options weren't back-dated to get a more favorable price?

jiving with jibe (0)

quonsar (61695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378919)

jibe (jb) pronunciation
intr.v. Informal., jibed, jibing, jibes.

To be in accord; agree: Your figures jibe with mine.

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379329)

Do you have any idea how many shareholder lawsuits are pending against Fortune 500 companies right now? Thousands. Why cover this one?

Oh that's right, this is Slashdot and every story with the word 'Apple' in it must be given attention...

What if Jobs were guilty (2, Insightful)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380097)

Suppose Jobs were guilty. Did it for his friends as he has plenty of $$$. He gets sent to jail and maybe has to leave Apple. Stock would tank and shareholders would be totally screwed. Now suppose you or I get caught shoplifting at an Apple store. We are stealing from Apple. Whoever in the company knowingly authorized the backdating should face criminal charges as they are stealing from Apple on a much larger scale. Why the company should be sued is beyond me. The expenses of the suit and payout will come from the company anyway.

Re:What if Jobs were guilty (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380507)

Your superior logic is no match for our puny greed.

If anyone anywhere ever gave a damn about the big picture, we wouldn't have class action lawsuits. We wouldn't have many lawyers either, because we would find better things to do than bicker in court over pieces of paper with random numbers printed on them.

If they're not happy with AAPL past two years' (3, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380821)

I'll take'em.

Crappy ruling (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381563)

...the suit had to show that Apple shareholders lost money in order to recover damages...


This is a pretty crappy ruling for investors.

It's kind of like saying, "yeah, I know the perp broke into your house and stole your TV, but you were still able to buy a new DVD that year, so we really can't make him give the TV back."

Re:Crappy ruling (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382205)

It's kind of like saying, "yeah, I know the perp broke into your house and stole your TV, but you were still able to buy a new DVD that year, so we really can't make him give the TV back."

The complaint was that the backdating cost Apple shareholders money. In order to win, you actually have to prove that. Temporarily the price of Apple stock went down after the scandal but it has risen since then. Your analogy doesn't work because value might have been lost. Property was not lost.

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