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MF Global Judge Urges Plaintiffs’ Lawyers to Get Organized

The judge who may oversee investor lawsuits against Jon Corzine, MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s former chief executive officer, and separate cases filed by customers of the firm suggested that plaintiffs’ lawyers organize themselves to push the suits forward.

“Something big happened at MF Global last December,” U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said at an initial conference today in Manhattan federal court, where dozens of lawyers in at least three set of lawsuits gathered. “Whether the case is in New York or Chicago or somewhere else, you’re going to need a leadership structure.”

A panel of judges from federal judicial districts across the country will hear arguments on March 29 on where lawsuits stemming from the collapse of MF Global will be heard. The suits name Corzine and other executives. Separate bankruptcy litigation is proceeding in New York.

At least three sets of cases are pending: a class action, or group, suit by holders of MF Global securities; a group of suits claiming violations of commodities laws by customers of brokerage MF Global Inc.; and another customer case by Sapere CTA Fund LP, which says it lost $90 million at the brokerage.

Law Firms

Law firms Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman LLP and Labaton Sucharow LLP are taking the lead in the securities cases on behalf of investors. Attorneys for clients who lost money at the brokerage are still negotiating over leadership. The Sapere case was filed by firms in New York and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Marrero today said he wouldn’t issue orders until the multidistrict litigation panel determines where the cases will proceed. He made recommendations as to how lawyers might organize matters.

“The allegations will be substantially overlapping,” he said.

The main case is DeAngelis v. Corzine, 11-cv-7866, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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