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- Issue: Accounting fraud
- Result: $145 million settlement
Merrill Lynch Funds v. McKesson Securities Litigation
Lieff Cabraser served as counsel for two Merrill Lynch sponsored mutual funds in a private lawsuit alleging that a massive accounting fraud occurred at HBOC & Company ("HBOC") before and following its 1999 acquisition by McKesson Corporation ("McKesson").
The funds charged that defendants, including the former CFO of McKesson HBOC, the name McKesson adopted after acquiring HBOC, artificially inflated the price of securities in McKesson HBOC, through misrepresentations and omissions concerning the financial condition of HBOC, resulting in approximately $135 million in losses for plaintiffs.
In a significant discovery ruling in 2004, the California Court of Appeal held that defendants waived the attorney-client and work product privileges in regard to an audit committee report and interview memoranda prepared in anticipation of shareholder lawsuits by disclosing the information to the U.S. Attorney and SEC. McKesson HBOC, Inc. v. Supr. Court, 115 Cal. App. 4th 1229 (2004).
Lieff Cabraser's clients recovered approximately $145 million, representing nearly 104% of damages suffered by the funds. This amount was approximately $115-120 million more than the Merrill Lynch funds would have recovered had they participated in the federal class action settlement.