According to the latest docket dated November 5, 2007, discovery has been proceeding in the multi-district mutual funds litigation. Simultaneously, some of the defendants have been involved in settlement discussions with the plaintiffs. This settlement process has been impacted by parallel regulatory proceedings occurring at the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Nevertheless, the court has been advised that several settlements have been agreed upon in principle. Additionally, numerous individuals and firms have been voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs throughout 2005 and 2006. On June 11, 2007, the over-seeing judges issued a scheduling order calling for completion of discovery by March 28, 2008.
Additionally, oral arguments concerning numerous pending motions for dismissal were held on October 5, 2007. Those motions were ordered denied on October 19, 2007.
Numerous motions to dismiss various complaints were filed on February 25 and March 7, 2005.
More than 400 similar lawsuits against at least 19 different mutual fund companies have been filed in federal district courts throughout the country. Because these cases involve common questions of fact, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (the “Judicial Panel”) ordered the creation of a multidistrict litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, entitled “In re Mutual Funds Investment Litigation” (the “MDL”). The Judicial Panel then transferred similar cases from different districts to the MDL for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. Plaintiffs in the MDL filed consolidated amended complaints on September 29, 2004. On February 25, 2005, defendants filed motions to dismiss. The Company’s and its subsidiaries’ motions are currently under submission with the court.
According to a press release dated November 21, 2003, the complaint alleges that the defendants violated the federal securities laws by allowing certain investors to market time and/or late trade mutual fund shares. Specifically, the complaint alleges violations of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and for common law breach of fiduciary duties in return for substantial fees, sticky money investments and other income for themselves and their affiliates.
The complaint further alleges that, during the class period, Bear Stearns and the other defendants engaged in illegal and improper trading practices, in concert with certain traders, which caused financial injury to the shareholders of the above-referenced Janus and Putnam funds. According to the complaint, the defendants permitted certain favored investors, including Defendant Canary Capital Partners, LLC and Canary Investment Management, LLC (collectively, 'Canary') to engage in 'timing' and late trading of the Janus and Putnam funds. Timing is an arbitrage strategy whereby the favored investors are permitted to conduct short-term trading of mutual fund shares, despite explicit restrictions on such activity in the funds' prospectuses and at the expense of long-term holders.
The funds and the respective symbols are listed below:
Janus Fund (Nasdaq:JANSX)
Janus Enterprise Fund (Nasdaq:JAENX)
Janus Twenty Fund (Nasdaq:JAVLX)
Janus Investment Fund (Nasdaq: JABAX)
Putnam OTC & Emerging Growth Fund (Nasdaq: POEGX)