New Jersey and Securities Class Actions . . . Perfect Together

An AP article in yesterday’s Bergen Record discusses the growing role of New Jersey’s state pension funds in bringing securities class actions. The article reports that the funds lost $22 billion in the stock market downturn as of last year.

Quote of note: “Peter C. Harvey [the state’s acting attorney general] told The Associated Press that the state is also the lead plaintiff in at least four of the eight cases, a legal distinction that gives New Jersey lawyers power to determine everything from what motions will be filed to how much should settle the cases. Most of the suits will likely be settled, he said.”

Addition: One of Harvey’s predecessors as N.J. Attorney General, John Degnan, is the Vice Chairman of the Chubb Corporation. Degnan has been calling on the insurance industry to form a group to provide legal services, information, and advocacy for companies facing securities litigation. The Chubb web site contains this press release from last February; a more recent op-ed from Degnan along the same lines appeared in the May 12, 2003 edition of Business Insurance (subscription required).

(BTW, the headline on this post refers to New Jersey’s tourist mantra – made famous in a series of tv ads by former Gov. Tom Kean.)

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