The little Louisiana pension fund litigation monster

  @FortuneMagazine September 19, 2013: 7:40 AM ET
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(Fortune)

At the end of Office Park Boulevard in suburban Baton Rouge, there's a bland two-story building that's home to the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System (LMPERS, pronounced "lampers"), a $1.6 billion fund that represents 12,000 retired and active municipal police officers in the state. The lawn is freshly mowed, the foyer well kept, and most days the only hum of activity comes from an upstairs office where six women -- the fund's administrative staff -- report to work in color-coordinated outfits, each day a different pastel shade typically found on an Easter egg.

But there's more to LMPERS than just curious sartorial habits. Unbeknown even to many of the cops it counts as members, or the Louisiana taxpayers who contribute to its coffers, LMPERS has become a litigation machine. The police fund is one of the country's most voracious plaintiffs, suing companies with abandon, sometimes even more regularly than its administrative corps wears blue (every Monday). In a 10-day period in February, for example, the fund sued Dell, US Airways, Hewlett-Packard, Heinz, and EnergySolutions, America's largest nuclear-waste company. It has been called out in defense and plaintiffs filings as a "frequent filer" and a "serial plaintiff," and last year, in the legal brief of one firm that had previously represented LMPERS, "the most prolific filer of shareholder litigation in U.S. history."

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