A Florida Circuit Court judge has denied a motion by Barnett Securities Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit charging that some of its branches were not properly registered to sell securities.

The suit, filed by attorney Jonathan L. Alpert, alleges that some Florida branches were not properly registered with the state as securities dealers.

The named plaintiffs in the suit, which seeks class-action status, want to recover money they lost and the sales fee they paid on mutual fund investments they made at a Clearwater Barnett branch.

A judge has denied the plaintiffs' demand for a jury trial.

Florida law allows an investor to rescind a transaction if he lost money on an investment bought in an unregistered office. The investor can also recover damages, with interest, and recoup attorney fees.

Mr. Alpert has filed similar suits against other large banks and financial institutions that do business in Florida, including NationsBank Corp., First Union Corp., and Amsouth Bancorp.

A federal court last week denied First Union's motion to dismiss Mr. Alpert's suit against it.

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