A series of legal challenges to the mutual fund industry's system of independent directors has suffered another setback.

A federal court judge last month refused to order Credit Suisse Asset Management to repay fees it received for managing the closed-end Brazilian Equity Fund because of the alleged lack of independence of the fund's directors. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet said in a 12-page decision dated March 11 that the plaintiff in the case, Robert Strougo, could not recover damages simply by alleging that directors were not independent. Instead, Strougo must prove that the fees which the funds paid to Credit Suisse were excessive, Sweet said.

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