According to the docket, on September 6, 2000, a Stipulation of Settlement was filed and on December 7, 2000, the Court entered the Order by Judge Aleta A. Trauger approving the Stipulation. The request for attorney fees of $240,000 and expenses in the amount of $16,451.10 paid from the $800,000 settlement award was approved. On April 9, 2001, the Court further entered the Order distributing the available settlement fund, minus attorney’s fees and expenses, to the class members. Plaintiff counsel was also awarded an additional reimbursement in the amount of $2,267 and the case was terminated.
On September 17, 1999, the Court entered the Order by Judge Aleta A. Trauger denying in part and granting in part defendants' motion to dismiss. Counts 1, 2 and 4 were dismissed with prejudiced and Counts 3, 5 and 6 were denied.
The class action complaint alleges that ESC Strategic Funds, Inc. and SunTrust Equitable Securities Corporation (collectively "ESC") violated federal and state securities laws and the common law by making false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the nature and possible duration of the ESC Strategic Value Fund. According to the complaint, ESC marketed and sold the Value Fund by targeting investors seeking long-term capital appreciation from purchasing "value" securities. The complaint alleges that notwithstanding the representations to investors that the Value Fund was for long-term investors and not appropriate for investors who might likely sell in the event of a short-term decline, ESC liquidated the fund after less than two years. According to the complaint, ESC failed to return to investors the fees paid in the form of front-end sales charges, and failed to compensate investors for the losses sustained by the fund.