BankAmerica Corp. gained a victory in the initial phase of a trial to determine if it mismanaged billions of dollars of California municipal bond proceeds.

On the basis of bank testimony last month, San Francisco Superior Court Judge A. James Robertson said Friday that it was his "preliminary view" that bank records are accurate enough to show whether BankAmerica held bond proceeds that should have been given to the state.

That was good news for BankAmerica, because California and 300 municipalities suing the bank want to use a different method to determine how much is owed.

Further rulings from Judge Robertson are expected within the next few weeks. The trial may then resume in the fall to determine amounts of unclaimed funds owed by the bank.

A third phase could begin early next year to find liability and damages arising from allegations that the bank overbilled and improperly invested funds.

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