Thursday, February 01, 2007

The "Qwest" Is Over for CalSTRS

Back in December, we looked at the results that one group of "opt-out" pension funds trumpeted in the AOL Time Warner securities litigation.

The opt-out trend continues, with apparent success by some investors.

According to a press release issued earlier this week, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) was able to recover "approximately 30 times what it would have received had it participated in the federal class action as a class member," in reaching a $46.5 million settlement with Qwest Communications, Qwest's former auditors and underwriters, and and certain former Qwest executives.

CalSTRS, which is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States, was represented in the litigation by "Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy" and Girard Gibbs LLP in the Qwest litigation.

The Cotchett firm's name is in quotes because an article (sub. req'd) in The Recorder from earlier this week indicated that name partner Bruce Simon was leaving the firm to start his own solo antitrust practice. A review of the firm's website reveals that the firm is now known as Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

A copy of CalSTRS complaint, filed in December 2002 in the San Francisco County Superior Court, is available here, and the executed settlement agreement is available here.

The federal class actions were largely settled in 2005 for $400 million. Lead counsel in the class action is Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and the New England Healthcare Employees Pension Fund, Satpal Singh, Tejinder Singh, and Clifford Mosher are lead plaintiffs in the class action.

Of Tangential Interest (since postings are not daily at this point): A side by side review of the press release issued by CalSTRS after the filing of the complaint with the press release issued after the settlement reveals that the fund leapfrogged from the third largest public pension fund in 2002 to the second largest fund in 2006 as assets grew from $94 to $157.8 billion.

The fund that CalSTRS passed to move into second place is the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF), which had assets of $140.45 billion as of March 2006. The NYSCRF is no stranger to securities litigation, having served as lead plaintiff in two of the largest securities class actions ever, WorldCom and Cendant.

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