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Fifteen-attorney Geller Rudman is about to get a big boost in pursuing the 21 securities-related class actions it has filed in the last few weeks. Effective on Aug. 1, Geller Rudman will merge with Lerach Coughlin Stoia & Robbins of San Diego to form a 140-attorney firm with 10 locations. The merger will create the new firm Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins. The joining of the firms will add capital and manpower to the recent deluge of class actions that Geller Rudman, which has offices in Boca Raton, Fla., and New York, has brought against several publicly traded companies. Within the last month, Geller has filed 13 lawsuits seeking class action status in a variety of jurisdictions. Since April 30, it has filed 21 such cases, according to Verteris, an Atlanta company that tracks federal lawsuits with securities claims. On June 4 alone, the firm submitted two lawsuits alleging federal securities law violations and another against Salomon Smith Barney for its handling of mutual fund business. Bill Geller, in Geller Rudman’s Boca Raton office, said that while the lawsuits were not filed specifically with the merger in mind, it will help his clients’ causes. “We also knew that we were about to be joining the largest, most powerful firm that does this,” he said. Many of the new firm’s partners previously worked together at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, including Geller, William Lerach, Sam Rudman and Darren Robbins. The Milberg Weiss firm split in May. The new firm will have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, San Diego, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Boca Raton and Melville, N.Y. While it’s not uncommon for class action firms to file numerous lawsuits each year, Geller Rudman’s recent filing frenzy apparently is the result of firm strategy and a market ripe for such actions. The firm’s June 4 announcement that it filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of North Carolina against drug maker Pozen Inc. stated that the company’s stock plummeted by almost 37% on June 1. That drop, according to the suit, followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s refusal to approve the company’s new drug for migraines. Davico Investors v. Pozen, No. 104-CV-505. Geller Rudman’s lawsuit alleges that the company failed to disclose side effects of its product. Pozen officials did not return a phone call seeking comment. In conjunction with its lawsuit against Business Objects S.A., a maker of business data software, in the Southern District of New York, Geller Rudman announced on June 4 that on news that first-quarter revenues fell short, shares of the software company fell by 23.3%. Other defendants in recent actions include Mutual Benefits Corp., Idacorp Inc. and Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp.

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