TOPEKA, Kan. - Defendants being sued by the Kansas Public Employees' Retirement System, Topeka, over losses in economically targeted investments won a battle to remove a judge from their cases, based on a reasonable doubt he was partial to the fund.
The ruling follows a June summary judgment against the Kansas system in a lawsuit involving the Kansas fund's $65 million ETI loan to the now insolvent Home Savings Association of Kansas City, Mo.
The decision is being appealed by the fund, its outside lawyer said.
The Home Savings loan lawsuit was the largest of several suits resulting from the Kansas system's in-state investment program.
Defendants in suits requesting a new judge include consulting firm Callan Associates Inc., San Francisco, and the former investment firm Reimer & Koger Associates.
The judge, Shawnee County District Court Judge Franklin R. Theis, was removed for several statements that when taken together "indicate that the judge considered matters upon which no evidence had been presented .*.*. and may be said to indicate a personal bias against the defendants or the positions taken by them in this litigation," District Judge Fred S. Jackson ruled Aug. 28.
Robert Coleman, the Kansas pension fund's Chicago-based outside attorney, said the ruling will not disrupt the pension fund's cases in which the judge was removed.
Several cases concerning the Kansas system's ETI portfolio are still pending in various court jurisdictions, and the summary judgment dismissing the Home Saving suit is on appeal, Mr. Coleman said.
So far, the Kansas system has received $12.125 million from parties related to the fund's ETI program, with about $8 million of that going toward expenses related to all of the suits filed, said Meredith Williams, executive secretary.