Mr. Class Action: Mel Weiss and Bill Lerach

 

Wall Street Class Action - Forbes Magazine Article: Mr. Class Action

Top "Wall Street Financial Channel" News Story:
Forbes Magazine Article: Mr. Class Action
by Nicole and Justin Richards - 02-21-04

A recent Forbes Magazine article entitled "Mr. Class Action" characterizes Melvyn Weiss as "grizzled and intimidating" while painting William Lerach as a "flamboyant, sharp-elbowed showman." Question: what does sharp-elbowed mean? How does one get sharp-elbows? In this first sentence you might get the impression the story was about a traveling sales troupe. Nothing could be further from the truth when the next Forbes sentence declares them to be "the cochairmen of one of the most feared law firms in the nation." In addition Forbes states "Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach have bullied corporate America out of $30 billion in damages." An unusual choice of words; bullied. It only takes one company to "bully" all of corporate America? One could almost get the sense they are trying to say "bilked" corporate America. The real story is that corporate America "bilked" large and small investors alike and are being made accountable by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach and there is much more to come. The full Forbes story can be found at: www.forbes.com/

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Of course they have earned large fees but it seems as if the industry standard of around 30-40% (see Forbes article chart) should only apply to small law firms doing workers compensation claims and the operative word here is earned. (When Onasis was asked why he sold oil tankers he replied because "that's what costs the most.") In many cases the corporate defendant's legal delaying tactics result in years going by before a settlement can be reached while legal business expenses must be "fronted" by the legal firm. The real issue is, now that corporate America has  been "caught," how can they minimize the fiscal damage? One way would be for corporate America to "lobby" congress to place a "cap" on class action lawsuit rewards or move the cases from consumer-friendly state courts to Federal jurisdiction apparently in an attempt to regulate attorney fees. Republicans want to enact a "Class Action fairness Act." By not allowing the attorneys involved to be paid by percentage or to have fees regulated by the government, companies facing charges of wrong doing might not face so formidable a foe as Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach. No one works for free nor should that be expected of them. (an exception is attorneys and their pro bono work) Fact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach won settlements in excess of $6 billion USD from Swiss banks and Germany, and did so pro bono!

We ask the sobering question: Who would be large enough to "take on" the job of policing corporate America (Worldcom, Enron, Prudential, Martha Stewart etc) with an eye toward the protection of investors and consumers? The aforementioned Forbes article quotes rival (read "less qualified competitor facing his own criminal action.") lawyer Howard Sirota as saying, "Mel Weiss is manipulative, deceptive and ruthless." "he works 25 hours a day at getting more--more money, more power." (Read "competitive sour grapes.") The Forbes article quotes that federal Judge John Sprizzo in the Martha Stewart case warned Weiss to "avoid intimidating his rival lawyers." This is similar to an umpire telling Babe Ruth to "stop hitting so many home runs because it is intimidating the other team's hitters." The bottom line is who do you want protecting your money and fighting for your rights? If corporate America is not taught a lesson (read "heavy fines and jail time.") the abuses of corporate greed will continue. The 55 companies involved in the IPO lawsuit represent hundreds of billions of dollars.

IPO Fraud
The Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation consists of 309 class actions involving more than 300 IPOs marketed between 1998 and 2000. The actions are coordinated before U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York. The defendants consist of the companies brought public, certain of their officers and directors and 55 of the investment banks that brought them public and underwrote various follow-on offerings. 

The lawsuits allege that the IPOs were manipulated by the investment banks to artificially inflate the market price of those securities and to conceal the amounts of compensation actually received by the underwriters. 

The plaintiffs' attorneys are led by a Court-appointed Executive Committee, which has been in a year-long mediation with the non-investment bank defendants to arrive at a settlement of all claims against them. (Source www.ipofraud.com)

Forbes Motive? HOME PAGE FOR THE WORLD'S BUSINESS LEADERS 
It certainly seems as if Forbes writers Robert Lenzner and Emily Lambert have done their best in this article to shift attention away from potential criminal corporate America executives. (Their readers?) Who but big business could afford the Forbes estimated $50,000 per page ad rates? CNN offers statistics from Forbes Magazine (100 richest etc.) and Steve Forbes has appeared frequently on CNN news programs. CNN is owned by AOL, and AOL Time Warner executives are accused of insider trading with Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach acting as the plaintiffs counsel.  http://www.milberg.com/pdf/aoltwpress.pdf

Soon, fifty-five monster-sized companies will be answering questions from Mel Weiss (Mr. Class Action) in the IPO scandal. It will be very interesting to see if the media outlets that provided the "delivery platform" for analysts recommendations were also culpable. These media outlets were where many investors turned for what they thought was factual analysis and recommendations. Currently, many television news and "market analysis" programs offer full disclosure claims with respect to the guest's remarks. This was not the case until that first company said "oops, we seem to have overstated our earnings, will that small oversight change our Wall Street valuation?"  

Friends of Big Business?

This Forbes article focus seems to be, rather than helping to expose the criminal behavior and greed of corporate America, to "publish and spin the idea" of "alleged misdeeds" of Mel Weiss. Los Angles grand jury ongoing investigations over the course of two years have resulted in no charges being filed against Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach but these investigations are reportedly "costing us a fortune in reputation as other law firms tell institutional investors not to hire us." -Mel Weiss. 

Click Here: to view Forbes list of companies and the $billions paid in fines so far. How many companies can afford to pay $50 million in fines and still stay in business? To whom were these fines paid? Regulators? Investors? Just who received these monies?

What about mutual funds? Guess who is watching out for mutual fund investors? Those company executives and insiders who lined their pockets on the backs of small investors that did not have the same trading advantages now realize, "Mel Weiss is on our trail." Are they frightened, yes. Bully corporate America? Absolutely not the ones who played by the rules. Force slight-of-hand corporate America to admit criminality (or not admit guilt but agree to pay anyway, huh?) and suffer the financial consequences? You Bet! This seems very strange "we admit no guilt, but we will pay $50 million and more in fines." There certainly seems to be a great deal of information many "parties" do not want released through trial. If not for Mel Weiss, how would we know? Security Cameras Wall Street Advertising Granite Countertops

If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers. --CHARLES DICKENS, The old Curiosity Shop

"The mutual fund scandal will be the greatest in Wall Street history." --Mel Weiss Click Here 

Article: “When Mel Weiss comes knocking” 
http://www.law.com/jsp/statearchive.jsp?type=Article&oldid=ZZZE6771DPC 

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