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Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic Bancorp has expanded on its request for sanctions against shareholder attorneys for allegedly including false statements in the securities class action.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami tossed out a jury verdict last month in favor of the shareholders, who claimed false statements made by the bank holding company before the collapse of the housing market were tantamount to securities fraud.

Ungaro initially dismissed the 2007 shareholder lawsuit but allowed an amended complaint attributed to about 40 substantive allegations to seven confidential witnesses. BankAtlantic said the assertions were fictional and is seeking defense fees and costs, according to a motion filed last week.

BankAtlantic attorney Eugene Stearns of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson in Miami said in the motion that plaintiff attorneys led by Mark Arisohn of Labaton Sucharow in New York have used this formula before to get shareholder class action lawsuits through the courthouse door.

“Plaintiffs’ counsel engaged in similar misconduct in at least two other cases, in each instance deflecting criticism by blaming their own staff, the memories of the witnesses or the vigorousness of cross-examination,” the motion read.

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