Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Catch Up Round Up - Part II

Today is the second installment of our roundup of news items that slipped through the cracks during the last few weeks.

Motion to Dismiss Largely Denied in Marsh & McLennan Securities Litigation

According to press reports, on July 20, Judge Shirley Wohl Kram has denied, in substantial part the motion to dismiss filed in the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Sec. Litig. pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the article, Judge Kram dismissed the claims against Marsh's outside auditor, Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The Marsh & McLennan litigation arose after an investigation by the New York State Attorney General revealed the company was allegedly engaging in price-fixing, bid-rigging and accepting improper payments from other insurance companies for steering business without regard to the companies' clients interests. According to this press release from Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, "[i]n the two days following the announcement of the investigation, Marsh & McLennan lost $9 billion in market capital as the company's stock dropped 50 percent."

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (OBWC), State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) were appointed as co-lead plaintiffs with the State of New Jersey - Department of Treasury - Division of Investment on behalf of the Common Pension Fund A, the DCP Equity Fund, and the Supplemental Annuity Fund.

Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP and Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A. are co-lead counsel in the Marsh litigation. The order appointing lead plaintiffs and lead counsel is available here.

A copy of the consolidate class action complaint is available here.

Motion to Dismiss Largely Granted in Ramp Corporation Securities Litigation

On July 21, Judge Denise Cote largely granted the motions to dismiss filed in the In re Ramp Corp. Sec. Litig., pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, for failure to allege loss causation.

As any discussion of loss causation these days invariably involves a discussion of Dura, and Chris Jones over at The PSLRA Nugget has cornered the market on such discussions, I'll defer to him for a substantive review of the opinion.

But there is something that caught my eye. Footnote 1, which reads in pertinent part:
The Consolidation Order appointed Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP as Lead Counsel. Among the responsibilities given to Lead Counsel was the responsibility to "[b]rief and argue motions." Despite the clear terms of the Consolidation Order, the plaintiffs' briefs list the following additional counsel . . . Adhering to the Consolidation Order, the only appearance of counsel for lead plaintiffs that will be recognized is that of counsel from Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP."
It is an interesting point, and one that in theory goes further than the Third Circuit's decision in Cendant from April 2005 (available here), which upheld the denial of an award of attorneys fees to certain law firms that had not been specifically asked by lead counsel to work on the case.

A copy of Judge Cote's opinion is available here.

Daily Trivia: According to this corporate description on the American Stock Exchange website, Ramp Corp., "is exploring the feasibility of using LifeRamp to commence a new business, making non-recourse loans to terminally ill cancer patients secured by their life insurance policies." If Ramp ever does enter that particular line of business, I would remind readers that the SEC believes that viatical settlements are not for everyone.

Underwriters Settle in Global Crossing for $99 million

According to news reports (InvestmentNews.com - registration required) underwriters for Global Crossing Ltd., agreed to settled claims in the securities class action pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for a total of $99 million.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will pay $42.1 million as part of the settlement, while Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. will contribute $19.2 million and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) will pay $17.3 million.

The rest of the underwriting syndicate, which included JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns Cos., Deutsche Bank AG, Lehman Brothers Holdings and ABN Amro Holding NV, agreed to contribute a total of $6.68 million to the settlement.

The lead plaintiffs in the Global Crossing litigation are the Public Employees' Retirement System of Ohio (OPERS) and the State Teachers' Retirement System of Ohio (STRS). Lead counsel is Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.

I previously blogged about the CIBC settlement, here.

No comments: