Three class actions over allegedly mismanaged mutual funds may be dead in the water even as case management conferences in all three are set.
Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is scheduled to oversee the conferences Wednesday in a mutual fund class action brought by lead plaintiffs Carl Kircher and Robert Brockway as well as two nearly identical cases led by Steve and Beth Dudley.
The Fifth District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon recently found that the Kircher case ran afoul of the 1998 Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA). The case was then dismissed.
In the two Dudley cases, Crowder heard arguments for and against the dismissal of those suits in May.
While the defense argued that the Kircher decision should be applied to the nearly identical Dudley suits, the plaintiffs pled to be allowed to amend the suits to keep them alive.
Crowder took the moves under advisement.
However, the defense entered a notice May 27 of a settlement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in a federal mutual funds class action.
That settlement, overseen by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, preliminarily enjoins the Dudley cases from proceeding.
The decision from Maryland came the same day Crowder took the dismissal motions and move to amend under advisement.
Final approval of the Maryland settlement remains pending.
A number of cases over the management of mutual funds are pending across the country.
The Dudley cases ping-ponged back and forth between federal court and Madison County.
They eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of
removal before they returned to Edwardsville.
The Kircher case and the Dudley cases were filed by Stephen Tillery and Christine Moody.
The defendants in the Kircher case are Putnam Funds, Putnam Investment Management LLC, Evergreen Investment Management LLC and Evergreen Internationl Trust.
Rebecca Jackson represents the Putnam defendants in the Kircher case.
Ann Barron represents the Evergreen defendants in the Kircher case.
In the Dudley cases, the defendants include Putnam Equity Funds and Putnam Investment Management.
Jackson and others represent the defendants in the Dudley cases.
The Kircher case is Madison case number 03-L-1255.
The two Putnam cases are case numbers 03-L-1539 and 03-L-1540.