New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, will go to trial Thursday in its class-action litigation against WorldCom Inc.'s former directors as well as financial underwriters J.P. Morgan, Blaylock & Partners and Utendahl Capital. The $117.4 billion fund is the lead plaintiff in the case, which will start in U.S. District Court in New York. The New York fund lost $317 million in WorldCom equity and debt, according to Alexander Coxe, spokesman for Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, law firm representing the fund.
Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign, whose litigation was consolidated with the New York state case, expects to have its case separated and remanded to U.S. District Court in Chicago after the class-action trial begins, said Dan M. Slack, general counsel to the $13.2 billion pension fund. The fund lost $12 million in WorldCom stock and bond investments, Mr. Slack said.
Because it is pursuing separate litigation, Mr. Slack said the Illinois fund hasn't been party to settlements in WorldCom-related cases, which so far total more than $4 billion, according to data from Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann.
Commenting on today's federal jury verdict that found Bernard Ebbers, former WorldCom CEO, guilty on nine counts for his role in the accounting fraud, New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi said, "Justice was served by today's jury verdict. As lead plaintiff in the class-action suit, I will continue to work to see that bond and stock holders receive some measure of justice as well."