Aged Judge Rules Merrill's Way

The New York Daily News reports that 96-year-old Manhattan Federal Judge Milton Pollack has dismissed eight-class action lawsuits against Merrill Lynch and the firm's former internet analyst Henry Blodget, brought by investors who lost out buying shares in internet companies during the boom.

The cases, which covered 'winners' like, iVillage and eToys, were thrown out as the judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show adequate 'motive to committ fraud'. Pollack added that 'the burst of the bubble and the attendant market chaos are not chargeable to the defendants'.

Pollack had already kicked out four other similar cases and fourteen more are pending before him.

In a related story, Andrew Melnick, the man who was Henry Blodget's boss at Merrill Lynch, has now announced his retirement from Goldman Sachs, where he has been co-head of research for just short of two years. A Goldman spokesman insisted that there was nothing untoward about Melnick's departure, saying: 'It's pretty straightforward. He's 62 years old...He did a terrific job doing what we wanted to get done with our strategic plan'.

Melnick will become an advisory director at the firm. Suzanne Nora Johnson, Melnick's co-head, will now become top dog on the Goldman research front.

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