The original Complaint alleges that BankAtlantic, and certain of its officers and directors, violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. At the start of the Class Period, BankAtlantic touted its 'negative provision for loan losses.' Nevertheless, BankAtlantic materially understated reserves for real estate loan losses on its financial statements, and thus materially overstated net income. BankAtlantic gave a $27.8 million real estate loan without obtaining an independent appraisal of the real estate. The loan was granted to Michael Tringali, who worked together with Neil Mohamed Husani. The two men inflated land values and then flipped a series of properties in Florida to obtain higher real estate loans from several banks, including BankAtlantic. Husani and Tringali have been under FBI investigation for this scheme, which the Company either knew at the time or recklessly ignored.
The complaint further alleges that BankAtlantic knew or recklessly ignored that the collateral underlying this $27.8 million loan - vacant land in Manatee County, Florida - was worth no more than $17.1 million. BankAtlantic deflected questions about the adequacy of its loan loss reserves for this property. BankAtlantic said it commissioned an 'appraisal' of the property, but real estate experts questioned whether this appraisal had any basis. In April 2007, BankAtlantic announced that it was having difficulty with its Florida real estate portfolio but hid the true extent of the inadequacy of its loan loss reserves. On October 25, 2007, the Company announced that it had to increase its loan loss reserves substantially. The news sent BankAtlantic's shares down nearly 40%, from $7.45 to $4.72 on heavy trading volumes.
Similar, purported class action complaints have also been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
On December 12, 2007, the Court granted the motion to consolidate cases. On February 5, 2008, the U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro granted the motion to appoint State-Boston Retirement System as lead plaintiff and Labaton Sucharow LLP as lead counsel. On April 22, 2008, the plaintiff filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss on June 6, 2008. The motion is currently pending before the Court. On December 12, 2008, Judge Ursula Ungaro granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. According to the Order, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim where the Complaint does not allege with the requisite particularity facts giving rise to a strong inference that each Defendant acted with scienter. The Plaintiff’s Complaint is dismissed without prejudice. The plaintiff has twenty days to file and amended complaint.
On January 12, 2009, the lead plaintiff filed a First Consolidated Amended Complaint. On February 6, 2009, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the First Consolidated Amended Complaint. On May 11, 2009, Judge Ungaro denied the motion. On September 22, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the class. The parties soon engaged in discovery proceedings. The motion to certify the class was granted on October 19, 2009. On June 1, 2010, the plaintiff filed two motions for partial summary judgment. On June 4, 2010, the defendants filed two sealed motions for summary judgment.
According to an article dated August 20, 2010, the subprime-related securities lawsuit pending against BankAtlantic Bancorp and certain of its directors and officers is headed to trial on October 6, 2010 in Miami, following the recent summary judgment rulings in the case. Southern District of Florida Judge Ursula Ungaro’s 62-page ruling, issued August 18, 2010, which granted in part and denied in part the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment.
On August 19, 2010, the defendants again filed a motion for summary judgment. On October 8, 2010, trial proceedings began before Judge Ursula Ungaro. The defendants filed a motion to decertify on October 12, 2010.
According to a press release dated November 18, 2010, on a rare courtroom trial of a securities fraud class action, a federal jury in Miami has awarded a group of institutional investors a verdict finding securities fraud against BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc. and two senior officers for lying about and failing to disclose the extent of risk in its troubled loan portfolio in 2007. This is the first securities class action case arising out of the financial crisis to go to jury verdict. The jury found that investors overpaid by $2.41 per share between April 26, 2007 and October 26, 2007 which resulted in millions of dollars in damages for the class.
On December 17, 2010, the defendants filed a Motion for a New Trial, a Motion for Entry of Judgment as to the Class Representatives, Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, and Request for Oral Argument on Post-Trial Motions.
According to a press release dated January 19, 2011, attorneys for a group of BankAtlantic Bancorp shareholders who won a class action lawsuit against the Fort Lauderdale-based bank holding company in November are asking that the ruling stand. On Tuesday, they filed a motion in Miami federal court, opposing BankAtlantic’s demand for a new trial.
According to an article dated April 26, 2011, the jury verdict entered in favor of the plaintiffs in the BankAtlantic subprime-related securities suit has been set aside by the court in a post-trial ruling. On April 25, 2011, Southern District of Florida Judge Ursula Ungaro, in a 112-page opinion, granted the defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law and indicated that she will enter judgment in defendants’ favor following remaining procedural issues. ... As Judge Ungaro summarized the verdict in her April 25 opinion, “the Jury returned a verdict mainly in Defendants’ favor.” The jury found no liability as to any defendant with respect to the first alleged damages period. However, with respect to five alleged misstatements in the second period, the Jury concluded with respect to four alleged misstatements that the company it s former Chairman and CEO had violated the securities laws. The jury also concluded that the company, the Chairman and the company’s CFO violated the securities laws with respect to a fifth alleged misrepresentation.
On June 2, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment As To The Falsity of Certain Class Period Statements And Incorporated Memorandum of Law.