Bank Plus Corporation, the holding company for Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB, announced that the Los Angeles County Superior Court has denied a motion for class certification in the pending securities fraud action filed by the Howard Gunty Profit Sharing Plan and Robert E. Yelin stemming from Fidelity’s previously terminated credit card operations.
The Superior Court reconfirmed its earlier finding that the proposed class representative, the Gunty Plan, was a “professional plaintiff” and thus an inappropriate class representative. The Court found that plaintiffs’ counsel, Weiss & Yourman and Stull, Stull & Brody, controlled the litigation, which the Court characterized as “abusive,” through the use of a professional plaintiff who merely lent his name to the lawsuit with little or no knowledge of the case and who had been represented by one or both of these firms in approximately 20 other lawsuits.
Mark K. Mason, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Plus, said, “We are very pleased at this result. This decision is a victory against abuse of the legal process that costs the shareholders of corporate America so much in terms of capital and management attention.”
Barring a reversal on any appeal that the plaintiffs may elect to file, the Court’s ruling ends the class action element of the lawsuit. The Superior Court did, however, rule that the lawsuit could be amended to add LaSalle Financial Partners, L.P. as a named plaintiff for its individual claims only, but not as a class representative. LaSalle retained the Gunty Plan’s lawyers as well as Foley & Lardner in litigating this matter.
Mr. Mason added, “The allegations of improper conduct set forth in LaSalle’s proposed complaint are without merit, and we intend to vigorously contest them.”
Bank Plus Corporation is the holding company for Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB, which offers a broad range of consumer financial services, including demand and time deposits and mortgage loans. In addition, through its affiliate Gateway Investment Services, Inc., a NASD-registered broker/dealer, Fidelity provides customers of the Bank with investment products, including mutual funds, annuities and insurance. Fidelity operates through 29 full-service branches located in Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California.Details