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Mutual Fund Lawsuits Sent To Baltimore Court

Feb 26, 2004 | AP

Hundreds of private lawsuits alleging trading abuses at six mutual fund firms will be handled by a federal court in Maryland, a judicial panel has ruled.

In an order issued Friday, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred lawsuits seeking class action status to Maryland, saying the federal courthouse in Baltimore has the capacity and experience to steer them "on a prudent course."

Private lawsuits filed in federal courts naming Alliance Capital Management Holdings LP, Bank of America Corp., Bank One Corp., Strong Capital Management Inc., Janus Capital Group Inc. and Putnam Investments are covered by the order.

Most plaintiffs in the lawsuits had argued for consolidating the cases in federal court in Manhattan, while mutual funds generally favored a courthouse near their headquarters.

Given that fund investors are scattered across the United States, "no district stands out as the geographic focal point for this nationwide litigation," the panel said. It decreed that hundreds of lawsuits against the companies be moved to Baltimore and assigned to Judge J. Frederick Motz and Judge Andre Davis. Motz serves on the multidistrict litigation panel.

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