The Bank Slate


AmeriServ files lawsuit in effort to end proxy battle

AmeriServ Financial has filed a lawsuit against Driver Management in an effort to invalidate the activist investor’s bid to have three people stand for election to the Johnstown, Pa., company’s board.


The $1.4 billion-asset company said in a press release that the lawsuit, filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, Pa., includes Abbott Cooper, Driver’s managing member, and the investor’s director nominees.


The lawsuit also seeks to block Driver from soliciting proxies in connection with AmeriServ’s annual meeting.


AmeriServ had previously said that its board had identified “material defects” in Driver’s notice to nominate candidates. The company said the notice did not note that one of the nominee’s family members has “sizable financial relationships” with the bank.


“The board believes allowing Driver to disregard AmeriServ’s bylaws and run a costly, distracting proxy contest to advance what appears to be its own short-term agenda runs counter to shareholders’ best interests,” AmeriServ said in its release.

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