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Case Status:    SETTLED
On or around 11/02/2010 (Date of order of distribution of settlement)

Filing Date: April 24, 2002

According to a press release dated February 1, 2007, Merrill Lynch & Co. won approval Wednesday of a $40.3-million settlement of three lawsuits over claims it provided misleading analyst research about Internet companies. U.S. District Judge John Keenan in New York approved the deal reached after investors appealed the 2003 dismissal of two of the cases. Keenan also awarded $9 million to lawyers who represented almost 400,000 investors who sued. Investors won 6.25% of the $645 million in damages they sought, which Keenan said was "at the higher end" of the percentage of recoveries in class - action securities suits. The lawsuits were brought on behalf of shareholders in three Merrill mutual funds: the Internet Strategies Fund, the Global Technology Fund and the Focus Twenty Fund. The firm issued falsely optimistic research reports, and fund prospectuses failed to disclose investments in companies with which Merrill sought banking business, the investors claimed. Merrill was named in dozens of investor lawsuits in 2002 after the firm issued what the investors said were misleading research reports about Internet companies. U.S. District Judge Milton Pollack, who died in 2004, dismissed many of the actions, saying the individuals who sued were "high-risk speculators" who wanted to "twist the securities laws into a scheme of cost-free speculators' insurance." An appeals court upheld most of the dismissals. In February 2006, Merrill paid $164 million to settle 12 cases pending in the trial court and 11 on appeal.

On December 24, 2002, the Court entered the Case Management Order #1 consolidating several related actions under In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. Internet Strategies Fund Securities Litigation, 02-CV-3176(MP). A Master file was established under In Re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc Research Reports Securities Litigation: 02 MDL 1484. On March 14, 2003, an Amended Complaint was filed. On November 17, 2003, the Court entered the Order No. 22 dismissing the Plaintiff's Consolidated Amended Complaint in its entirety, with prejudice. On February 4, 2004, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Notice of Appeal. On November 6, 2006, the Court entered the Mandate of the U.S. Court of Appeals withdrawing the appeal because a settlement was reached in the Multidistrict Litigation action, 02-MD-1484. According to the Notice of Pendency dated October 11, 2006, the settlement fund is in the amount of $39 million in cash.

The complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme that was intended to use Blodget's strong reputation and bullish ratings on Internet stocks to market the Internet Strategies Fund to unsuspecting
investors. In fact, as a result of defendants' scheme, over one billion dollars was invested in the Internet Strategies Fund by investors. The complaint alleges that defendants failed to disclose: [1] that at the same time Blodget was
recommending Internet stocks he held unpublished negative views regarding those same stocks [2] that considerable conflicts of interest existed within Merrill Lynch which compromised the objectivity of Merrill Lynch Internet analysts and [3] that Blodget's favorable ratings on Internet companies were influenced by Merrill Lynch's desire to generate investment banking fees. The complaint further alleges that the Internet Strategies Fund's Registration Statement/Prospectus was materially false and misleading because, among other things, it [1] omitted to state that the Internet Strategies Fund was being marketed at a time when Merrill Lynch Internet analysts published strong investment ratings on all Internet companies followed by Merrill Lynch even though those analysts, including Blodget, held negative personal views on those same stocks [2] omitted to state that Blodget and the Internet Group published strong ratings on Internet stocks in order to secure investment banking business and [3] omitted to state that substantial conflicts of interest existed within Merrill Lynch that compromised the objectivity of Blodget and the Internet Group.

COMPANY INFORMATION:

Sector: Financial
Industry: Misc. Financial Services
Headquarters: United States

SECURITIES INFORMATION:

Ticker Symbol: MBNTX
Company Market: Open-end Fund
Market Status: Open-end Fund

About the Company & Securities Data


"Company" information provides the industry and sector classification and headquarters state for the primary company-defendant in the litigation. In general, "Securities" information provides the ticker symbol, market, and market status for the underlying securities at issue in the litigation.

In most cases, the primary company-defendant actually issued the securities that are the subject of the litigation, and the securities information and company information relate to the same entity. In a small subset of cases, however, the primary company-defendant is not the issuer (for example, cases against third party brokers/dealers), and the securities information and company information do not relate to the same entity.
COURT: S.D. New York
DOCKET #: 02-CV-03176
JUDGE: Hon. Milton Pollack
DATE FILED: 04/24/2002
CLASS PERIOD START: 03/14/2000
CLASS PERIOD END: 10/15/2001
PLAINTIFF FIRMS NAMED IN COMPLAINT:
  1. Wolf Popper, LLP
    845 Third Avenue, Wolf Popper, LLP, NY 10022-6689
    877.370.7703 212.486.2093 · IRRep@wolfpopper.com
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COURT: S.D. New York
DOCKET #: 02-CV-03176
JUDGE: Hon. Milton Pollack
DATE FILED: 03/14/2003
CLASS PERIOD START: 03/14/2000
CLASS PERIOD END: 10/15/2001
PLAINTIFF FIRMS NAMED IN COMPLAINT:
  1. Abbey Gardy, LLP (New York)
    212 East 39th Street, Abbey Gardy, LLP (New York), NY 10016
    212.889.3700 · info@abbeygardy.com
  2. Abbey Spanier Rodd Abrams & Paradis, LLP (New York)
    212 East 39th Street, Abbey Spanier Rodd Abrams & Paradis, LLP (New York), NY 10016
    212-889-3700 212-684-519 · info@abbeyspanier.com
  3. Beatie & Osborne LLP
    599 Lexington Avenue, 42nd Floor, Beatie & Osborne LLP, NY 10022
    212.888.9000 212.888.9664 ·
  4. Berger & Montague PC
    1622 Locust Street, Berger & Montague PC, PA 19103
    800.424.6690 215.875.4604 · investorprotect@bm.net
  5. Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. (Washington, DC)
    1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, West Tower, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. (Washington, DC), DC 20005
    202.408.4600 202.408.4699 · lawinfo@cmht.com
  6. Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran
    1050 30th Street, NW, Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran, DC 20007
    202.337.8000 202.337.8090 · contact@ftllaw.com
  7. Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, LLP (former New York, NY)
    805 Third Avenue, 22nd Floor, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, LLP (former New York, NY), NY 10022
    212.687.1980 212.687.7714 · info@kaplanfox.com
  8. Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein, PC

    800-470-6824 312-621-1750 ·
  9. Pomerantz LLP (New York)
    600 Third Avenue, Pomerantz LLP (New York), NY 10016
    212.661.1100 212.661.8665 · info@pomerantzlaw.com/
  10. Rabin & Peckel LLP
    275 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor, Rabin & Peckel LLP, NY 10016
    212.682.1818 212.682.1892 · email@rabinlaw.com
  11. Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP (Boston)
    75 State Street, Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP (Boston), MA 02109
    617.439.3939 617.439.0134 · info@shulaw.com
  12. Weiss & Yourman (New York, NY)
    The French Building, 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 1600, Weiss & Yourman (New York, NY), NY 10126
    212.682.3025 212.682.3010 · info@wyca.com
  13. Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP (New York)
    270 Madison Avenue, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP (New York), NY 10016
    212.545.4600 212.686.0114 · newyork@whafh.com
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No Document Title Filing Date