Securities Case? Bring It On!

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.


hattip – Walter Olson at Point of Law