Merrill Lynch & Co. Sued Over Auction-Rate Securities by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Seneca Gaming Corp.

On Wednesday, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. sued Merrill Lynch & Co., a Bank of America Corp. unit. The pharmaceutical company’s securities fraud lawsuit accuses the brokerage firm of making misrepresentations that resulted in its purchase of $273 million in ARS. Merrill Lynch underwrote the securities that Teva bought. A day later, Seneca Gaming Corp. filed its own lawsuit against Merrill Lynch. The complaint is over a $5 million tranche of ARS backed by mortgages that the company had purchased.

While the agreements that brokerage firms have reached with regulators generally require that the former buy back auction-rate securities from small companies, individual investors, and nonprofits, the broker-dealers are only required to work with bigger investors or try their best to help them deal with their illiquidity issues. As a result, some large investors are taking matters into their own hands by filing securities fraud claims and lawsuits. These investors include Bankruptcy Management Solutions Inc., Braintree Laboratories, Ocwen Financial Corp. Ashland Inc., and Texas Instruments. Other large companies will likely follow suit.

For the large investors that are undecided on what action to take regarding their frozen ARS, it is important from them to realize that more financial losses are likely.
Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP founder and securities fraud attorney William Shepherd notes, “Our law firm is handling a number of substantial ARS claims for large investors with funds that have been frozen for more than a year. Some have suffered consequential damages as a result. Other clients have sold and sustained large losses or will face such losses if and when they do sell. Many investors simply seek to unlock their funds as soon as possible. Our legal fee arrangements differ depending upon these circumstances.”

Related Web Resources:
Merrill Lynch Sued By Teva, Seneca Gaming Over ARS Sales, CNN, August 6, 2009
Will Their Be An Onslaught of ARS Litigation?”, Law 360