Second SEC/BofA case on track for summer trial

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – The second of two U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuits against Bank of
America Corp (BAC.N: ) over the Merrill Lynch & Co takeover may
be ready for trial as soon as this summer, with a trial on the
first lawsuit set to begin on March 1.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who presides in both cases,
on Friday set a final pre-trial conference in the second case
for June 29. No trial date has been set.

The SEC in the second case accused the largest U.S. bank of
failing to disclose billions of dollars of losses at Merrill
before shareholders voted on the merger in December 2008.

In the first case, the SEC accused Bank of America of
misleading shareholders about $3.6 billion of bonuses that
Merrill paid out even as it racked up a $15.8 billion loss in
the fourth quarter of 2008.

The merger closed on Jan. 1, 2009.

Rakoff had refused to let the SEC add its allegations over
the losses to its original lawsuit over the bonuses, saying it
would be unfair to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank to
do that so close to trial. The regulator then filed its second
lawsuit on Jan. 12.

The judge has regularly faulted some of both sides’
arguments in the litigation, and in September rejected the
SEC’s $33 million settlement with the bank over the bonuses.

A conference in the bonuses case is set for Wednesday.

“I don’t want the week to go without seeing you folks,”
Rakoff said jokingly as Friday’s conference ended.

Bank of America shares closed down 19 cents at $15.18 on
the New York Stock Exchange. They have fallen 55 percent since
the bank announced plans to buy Merrill on Sept. 15, 2008.

The cases are titled SEC v. Bank of America Corp, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York. The case about
the bonuses is No. 09-6829, and the case about the losses is
No. 10-0215.

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(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Second SEC/BofA case on track for summer trial