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Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP Files First ERISA Fiduciary Breach Class Action on Behalf of Participants and Beneficiaries of the Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan Against the Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. and Other Plan Fiduciaries

RADNOR, Pa., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by the law firm of Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP:

Notice is hereby given that the law firm of Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP ("SBTK") has filed the first lawsuit of its kind on behalf of participants and beneficiaries of The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the "Plan"), in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), the federal law governing employee benefit plans. The lawsuit seeks to recover, on behalf of the Plan and its aggrieved participants, losses in connection with the unprecedented devaluation of The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. ("Bear Stearns") common stock (NYSE:BSC) held by Plan participants between December 14, 2006 and the present (the "Class Period").

This case epitomizes the danger of concentrating hundreds of millions of "retirement eggs" in one basket - employer stock - even for employees of an institution like Bear Stearns. Plaintiff alleges that Bear Stearns, like too many others, has inflicted long-term harm on its most precious resource - its workers.

Pursuant to ERISA, the defendants-fiduciaries of the Plan-were obligated to ensure that the Plan's assets were prudently invested. The Complaint alleges that the defendants utterly failed to fulfill their fiduciary duties and, as a result, the Plan's participants have suffered tremendous losses to their retirement savings.

The Complaint generally alleges that Bear Stearns and certain of its officers and directors allowed the imprudent investment of the Plan's assets/participants' retirement savings in Bear Stearns equity throughout the Class Period, despite the fact that they clearly knew or should have known that such investment was imprudent due to, among other things, (a) the Company's failure to disclose material adverse facts about its financial well- being including its ability to continue as a going concern; (b) the foreseeable deleterious consequences to the Company resulting from its substantial entrenchment in the subprime mortgage market; (c) the fact that, as a consequence of the above, the Company's stock price was artificially inflated; and (d) the fact that heavy investment of retirement savings in Company stock would therefore result in significant losses to the Plan, and consequently, to its participants.

Specifically, Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Bear Stearns stock was an inherently imprudent Plan investment vehicle because the Company: (1) was grossly over-exposed to the potential for substantial losses as conditions in the subprime industry deteriorated; (2) actively concealed the ominous dangers it faced; (3) failed to take accurate and timely write-downs for losses resulting from the collapse of the subprime market; and that the (4) Company's statements about its financial well-being and future business prospects were lacking in any reasonable basis when made.

As noted above, this case is brought on behalf of the Plan and its participants. Proposed class actions have also been brought against Bear Stearns regarding violations of the federal securities laws by the company's public shareholders.

SBTK specializes in complex class action litigation, representing investors, employees and consumers in class actions pending in state and federal courts throughout the United States. SBTK has substantial experience and success in this specialized area of pension law, with one of the preeminent and largest legal departments dedicated to ERISA breach of fiduciary duty class action litigation in the country. The firm has been named lead or co-lead counsel in numerous directly analogous ERISA class cases - including successful actions on behalf of ESOP and/or 401(k) savings plans sponsored by companies such as AOL/Time Warner, Bristol-Myers, and Polaroid.

If you are a current or former employee of Bear Stearns, or a subsidiary of Bear Stearns, who held Bear Stearns stock through the Plan during the Class Period, and you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP (Edward W. Ciolko, Esq. or Richard A. Maniskas, Esq.) toll free at 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at info@sbtklaw.com.

For more information about Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, please visit www.sbtklaw.com

    CONTACT: Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP
             Edward W. Ciolko, Esq.
             Richard A. Maniskas, Esq.
             280 King of Prussia Road
             Radnor, PA 19087
             1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706
             Or by e-mail at info@sbtklaw.com

Source: Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP

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