Court Appoints Lead Plaintiff in Shareholder Lawsuit Against SAC

A New York court designated a pension fund as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by shareholders of Elan Corp against SAC Capital, a court filing showed, as the hedge fund continued to face varied legal challenges over insider-trading charges.

Pension fund City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System has been named as the lead representative party, who will act on behalf of other co-litigants in directing the lawsuit, according to a court order on Monday.

The lawsuit, which was filed by investors in Elan's American depositary receipts, complained that SAC reaped millions in trading profit based on inside information.

The legal challenge posed by Elan shareholders is another burden for SAC as it already faces redemption requests from its investors and also a U.S. government lawsuit.

In the lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors, the court has already set a November 4 start for the criminal trial of Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors, on insider trading charges.

Martoma, one of nine former employees of billionaire Steven Cohen's hedge fund named in a government crackdown on insider trading, will be the first to face trial. Cohen has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say Martoma helped CR Intrinsic Investors, an SAC fund, avoid $276 million in losses in 2008 by recommending that it sell shares of Elan Corp and Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer Inc , based on a doctor's tips about poor drug trial results.

People familiar with the fund have previously told Reuters that outside investors asked to redeem up to $4 billion in the second quarter, on top of the $1.7 billion in first-quarter redemption requests.

The case is David E. Kaplan et al vs SAC Capital Advisors, Case No. 12-9350, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. The other case is U.S. v. Martoma, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-cr-00973.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Matt Driskill)