American Lawyer: Securities Case? Bring It On! Mississippi busts the PSLRA lead plaintiffs limit.

The Amercian Lawyer writes about more “Pay to Play” by Jim Hood, rewarding his big campaign contributors with no-bid contracts to pursue millions on behalf of the state. This article suggests that even among activist attorneys general, Hood is going beyond belief:

Even in a new wave of activist state attorneys general, is Mississippi AG Jim Hood too active?

Hood is charged with deciding which cases to bring on behalf of the state’s largest pension fund, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (MissPERS). According to his critics, Hood is having a hard time saying no to any of the plaintiffs lawyers–many of them major campaign contributors–who propose cases.

MissPERS is currently vying to become lead plaintiff in a case in New York federal court on behalf of investors who purchased mortgage-backed certificates sold by big banks. But another fund that is also seeking the lead plaintiff role–Iron Workers Local No. 25–has argued in court papers that Mississippi has become a professional plaintiff in recent years and should be denied the lead plaintiff role.

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which governs the rules for securities class actions, was supposed to put an end to the practice of professional plaintiffs by limiting parties to five lead spots in a three-year period. Since February 2006 according to the Iron Workers, MissPERS has been named lead or co-lead plaintiff in ten cases. “MissPERS is already stretched too thin to actively direct counsel,” wrote attorneys for Iron Workers at Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, a firm that has not contributed to Hood.

In addition, Mississippi’s active caseload has brought charges that Hood is essentially running a pay-to-play state. In the past two years, New York plaintiffs firm such as Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, Wolf Popper, and Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, have given tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Hood. Many contributors, including those three firms, have been appointed lead counsel.

At press time New York federal district court judge Jed Rakoff had not decided whether to appoint MissPERS in the mortgage certificate case. Hood, no doubt, is already lining up his next target.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

One Comment on “American Lawyer: Securities Case? Bring It On! Mississippi busts the PSLRA lead plaintiffs limit.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: