According to a press release dated June 5, 2008, a class action has been commenced on behalf of purchasers of the Fidelity Ultra-Short Bond Fund who purchased the Fund within three years of the filing of this lawsuit, seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Act of 1933.
Specifically, the complaint charges Fidelity Management & Research Company ("FMR Co.") and certain related entities, among others, with violations of the Securities Act. FMR Co. is the investment advisor to the entire group of mutual funds under the Fidelity name.
The complaint alleges that on or about August 23, 2002, defendants began offering shares of the Ultra-Short Bond Fund pursuant to an initial registration statement, filed with the SEC as a Form 485BPOS (the "Registration Statement"). The complaint alleges that defendants solicited investors to purchase shares of the Ultra-Short Bond Fund by making statements that described the Fund as a fund that: (i) "Seeks a high level of current income consistent with the preservation of capital"; (ii) "allocates its assets across different market sectors and maturities"; (iii) has a "similar overall interest rate risk to the Lehman Brothers® 6 Month Swap Index"; and (iv) is geared toward the "preservation of capital." As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially false and misleading because defendants did not adequately disclose the risks associated with investing in the Fund, including, for example, that the Fund was: (i) failing to compete with the Lehman Brothers® 6 Month Swap Index; and (ii) so heavily invested in high-risk mortgage-backed securities.
By June 11, 2007, defendants slowly began lowering the value of the share price for the Ultra-Short Bond Fund. Since then, the value of the Ultra-Short Bond Fund's share price has been precipitously lowered. By November 15, 2007, the value of the per-share price was reduced below $9. The shares were trading as low as $8.25 as of the filing of the complaint.
On February 23, 2009, the judge ordered related cases consolidated and appointed an individual investor to serve as lead plaintiff. The plaintiff's selection of co-lead counsel was also approved. On April 23, 2009, the lead plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint on July 17, 2009.
On April 8, 2010, the lead plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss on May 24, 2010. By the Order signed by Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf on November 16, 2010, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint (Docket No. 68) is allowed in part and denied in part. According to the Order, it is allowed to the extent that it seeks the dismissal of Count I against defendant Fidelity Investments. It is denied in all other respects. By December 3, 2010, the parties shall confer and report, jointly if possible but separately if necessary, whether they have reached an agreement to resolve this matter.
On June 17, 2011, the lead plaintiffs filed an Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement. According to the Stipulation of Settlement, the proposed settlement is in the amount of $7.5 million in cash. The settlement was preliminarily approved on December 23, 2011. The final settlement hearing is set for May 11, 2012.