Milberg Weiss leads fight against Enron

Class action specialist Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach has been granted the lead role in actions against former executives and directors of Enron Corporation and Arthur Andersen. Name partner William Lerach will head the charge on behalf of lead plaintiff, the University of California.
Lerach said: “On behalf of the University of California as lead plaintiffs, we look forward to vigorously pursuing the shareholders' case. Milberg Weiss takes the responsibility of getting justice for these private individuals and public institutions very seriously.”
Judge Melinda Harmon of the US District Court in Houston appointed the university as lead plaintiff last week. Following her decision, Milberg Weiss will assume responsibility for directing the prosecution case on behalf of all plaintiffs' counsel. The university's pension funds lost more than $144m (£101m), making it one of the larger claimants, although its losses were exceeded by those of a number of other organisations.
San Francisco firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein had also tried for the lead role. Its clients, the pension funds of New York City and Florida, lost $440m (£308.7m). Lieff Cabraser partner James Finberg argued that its clients should have taken precedence.
He said that a responsible lead plaintiff had to make sure the claim did not become a windfall for lawyers.
Representatives for other claimants expressed surprise at the selection of the university, with some suggesting that more than one claimant could have been chosen as a collective lead.
It has been estimated that collectively claimants are seeking to recoup losses of more than $80bn (£56bn). As lead counsel, Milberg Weiss can look forward to collecting massive fees.
Lerach hit the ground running in an aggressive campaign to have his client named as lead plaintiff. The firm dropped an earlier client, Amalgamated Bank of New York, guessing correctly that the university's argument would be more persuasive than the bank's $10m (£7m) claim.
Milberg Weiss is the largest class action law firm in the US. It boasts more than 190 lawyers in offices in New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Philadelphia and Seattle.