Lead Plaintiff Named in Apple Shareholder Lawsuit

A New York pension system will be the lead plaintiff in a shareholders lawsuit accusing Apple of securities violations over backdated stock options.

The New York City Employees Retirement System was named the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit Friday by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, according to Grant & Eisenhofer, the law firm representing the group.

The pension system, which manages about $89 billion in retirement assets for more than 200,000 municipal employees in New York City, holds about one million shares of Apple stock. The institutional investor and other shareholders are seeking class-action status for their case and want damages in connection with what they allege were illegally issued stock options.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 24, is now being heard by the same judge who is overseeing a separate but similar securities case that consolidates a number of civil complaints over Apple's admitted mishandling of stock options accounting.

Apple has not yet legally responded to either case.

Federal prosecutors also are investigating Apple's past stock options practices, including a specific stock option award to chief executive Steve Jobs. Apple said its own internal probe had cleared Jobs and other current management of any wrongdoing.