Madison County securities class actions could fall after appellate decision

Steve Korris Apr. 22, 2010, 1:48am



Three class actions against mutual funds similar to one that failed at the Fifth District appellate court stand like dominoes waiting to fall.

Stephen Tillery of St. Louis filed all four in 2003, at the peak of the class action frenzy in Madison County.

He claimed Putnam, Evergreen and Janus mutual funds timed trades in a way that benefited the funds at the expense of investors.

Fifth District judges ruled in January that the U.S. Securities Litigation Act precluded a class action against Putnam and Evergreen funds in state court.

Justice Stephen Spomer wrote that federal law was designed to extend to allegations that mismanagement injured a fund directly and shareholders indirectly.

He wrote that "those claims must be within the scope of the Securities Litigation Act unless brought derivatively on behalf of the funds after a demand by the shareholders on corporate officers."

Fifteen days later, Janus asked Circuit Judge Hylla to dismiss a similar suit.

Hylla set a hearing for April 23, but canceled it at Tillery's request in March.

Hylla wrote that plaintiffs were considering if and how to proceed.

On April 5, after the Fifth District mandate reached Crowder, she dismissed Putnam and Evergreen.

Three days later, two other Putnam funds asked her to dismiss similar suits.

She set hearings on May 14.

She also plans a hearing that day on a claim that she neglected to award the costs of the appeal to Putnam and Evergreen.

The mandate awarded $1,285.10, but Crowder's April 5 order omitted the award.

Charles Joley of Belleville moved on April 8 to assess costs of appeal.

He attached a $998.20 bill from Sun Copies of Swansea, for 6,985 pages at 12 cents a page, 36 binders at $2.50 each, and 20 binders at $3.50 each.

He attached a $236.90 bill from Sun Copies, for 1,120 pages and 41 binders at $2.50.

He also attached bills for two $25 filing fees.

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