On September 5, 2007, the Court issued the Opinion and Order No. 95140. According to the Order, U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan certified the class action, approved the settlement, approved the Plan of Allocation and finalized the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. On September 19, 2007, the Court entered the Order and Final Judgment for In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484.
According to the Notice of Pendency and Proposed Settlement of Class Actions, dated March 19, 2007, for In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484, this case, In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. eToys Inc. Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-6645, is part of a proposed settlement of $125 million in cash. A settlement hearing will be held before the Honorable John F. Keenan, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York to determine whether the settlement should be approved.
On December 9, 2002, the Court entered the Case Management Order #1 granting the motion to consolidate several cases under In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. eToys Inc. Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-6645. On March 13, 2003, a First Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint, and the defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on April 30, 2003. On October 29, 2003, the Court entered the Decision and Order signed by Judge Milton Pollack granting the motion to dismiss the consolidated class action complaints. On December 1, 2003, a Notice of Appeal was filed. On May 8, 2006, the Court entered true copy of the Order of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the Order, a stipulation was filed withdrawing the appeals from active consideration without prejudice and with leave to reactivate.
In October 2002, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted the Merrill Lynch Defendants’ motion to transfer all such cases to the Southern District of New York for coordinated pre-trial proceedings. The cases were transferred to the Honorable Milton Pollack, Senior United States District Judge, and were coordinated under the caption In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484.
The Complaint alleges that Merrill Lynch and its well-known Internet stock analyst Henry Blodget violated the federal securities laws by knowingly issuing false and misleading analyst reports regarding these "new economy" companies during the Class Period. Based on e-mails and other internal Merrill Lynch communications, which were made public as a result of the investigation conducted by the New York State Attorney General, the Complaint alleges that Defendants failed to disclose a significant conflict of interest between their investment banking and research departments. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Henry Blodget and other Merrill Lynch analysts issued very favorable analyst reports regarding these "new economy" companies to the public when they allegedly knew that the positive recommendations were unwarranted and false. The Complaint further alleges that, unbeknownst to the investing public, Merrill Lynch's buy recommendations and price targets for these companies were driven by its efforts to attract lucrative investment banking business rather than by the companies' fundamental merits.