Florida jurors returned the first securities fraud verdict to arise out of the financial crisis against BankAtlantic Bancorp. Inc.

This Erie County Employees Retirement System case against BankAtlantic is one of the ground-breaking securities class actions to be tried to a verdict following the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Following five years of Kessler Topaz work to bring the matter to trial and a four-week jury trial in Miami, Florida, the jury returned a verdict in Plaintiffs’ favor. Defendants subsequently moved for a judgment as a matter of law and filed a motion for new trial.  The District Court conditionally denied the request for a new trial but did grant Defendants motion for judgment as a matter of law, relying on perceived inconsistent jury interrogatory responses as grounds for concluding that there was insufficient evidence to support the Jury's finding of loss causation and damages with respect to certain statements made by the Defendants. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that the District Court erred by ruling that the verdict contained an insurmountable inconsistency, but affirmed the judgment as a matter of law on loss causation grounds.