Stock Drop Plaintiffs Win Skirmishes in Fifth Third Case

October 3, 2008 ( - Plaintiffs in a January 2005 stock drop and excessive fee case have won two legal skirmishes with a federal judge's rulings certifying the case as a class action and refusing a request to throw out their lawsuit.

A news release from the Scott and Scott law firm said the rulings came in a suit filed byBenjamin Shirk seeking to represent participants and beneficiaries in theFifth Third Master Profit Sharing Plan.The case charged the bank and a number of its executives with mismanaging the plan and breaching their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Specifically, the suit alleges defendents breached their fiduciary duties by:

  • investing the plan’s assets in Fifth Third stock at a time when it was imprudent to do so;
  • making material misrepresentations about Fifth Third stock and failing to provide complete and accurate information to participants and beneficiaries;
  • failing to monitor those persons or entities who were charged with managing the plan and its assets; and
  • failing to avoid conflicts of interest with respect to the plan.

The plaintiffs also alleged the plan was charged excessive management fees – a claim the court refused to throw out in the recent rulings. The order refusing to dismiss the excessive fee allegations is here .

The bank was the target of a new stock drop case filed in mid-August by a Fifth Third employee in Florida (See Fifth Third Slapped with Stock-Drop Participant Lawsuit ).