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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Supremes Rule on Another Fund Fee Case

News summary by MFWire's editors

The ink on the Oakmark Funds decision is barely dry and already it's being applied as precedent. In today's "Fund Track" column, the Wall Street Journal's Daisy Maxey reports that the RiverSource fee suit, Gallus v. Ameriprise, was just sent back to a lower court by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last week in the Oakmark case, Jones v. Harris Associates, the Supremes revived the investors' case by reinforcing (and, some say, partially opening up) an excessive fund fee suit standard first articulated in the 80s in Gartenberg v. Merrill Lynch Investment Management. Yet Gallus cuts slightly differently; while a federal district court ruled in favor of Ameriprise and dismissed the suit, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out that dismissal. The Supreme Court's decision in Gallus sends the case back to the Eighth Circuit for review.

"The court is basically saying, 'We decided the Jones case last week. This case presents the same issues as the Jones case, so we're sending it to the Eighth Circuit for further consideration," Robert Skinner, one of Ameriprise's attorneys with Ropes & Gray, told the WSJ. "Ameriprise is pleased that the court has granted its request to have the Eighth Circuit Court address this case again in light of the strong reaffirmation of the Gartenberg standard." 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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