(Atlanta – 18 February, 2002) Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that the United States District Court in Texas had appointed the University of California Board of Regents as the lead plaintiff in the securities fraud litigation against the Enron corporation and related entities. In a ruling released late Friday, the Court placed great emphasis on the fact that California’s retirement system suffered the largest loss of any single investor qualified to serve as lead plaintiff in the litigation. In responding to the Court’s decision, Attorney General Baker stated, “I believe that the California retirement system will do a fine job, but I am disappointed in the Court’s decision. Our group was led by three elected Attorneys General committed to the public interest and to ensuring that the culpable parties answered for their actions in court.”
The District Court, in its order, first ruled that the investor with the largest single loss, Florida’s public pension funds, was not qualified to serve as lead plaintiff because of potential conflict of interest problems. The Court then stated that the decision came down to the California Board of Regents and a three state group of public retirement funds consisting of the states of Georgia, Ohio and Washington. The Court found that there were not sufficient shared interests to justify appointment of the three state group as joint lead plaintiffs, which left Georgia’s individual loss of $127 million as the second largest loss among qualified applicants behind California’s loss of $144 million.
Attorney General Baker, in announcing the ruling, went on to say that, “The Court has rendered its decision. My office will continue to monitor the litigation closely to ensure that the case is vigorously and effectively prosecuted. I pledge to do everything in my power as Attorney General to protect the interests of Georgia’s taxpayers and retirees.”