Less than two weeks before its annual meeting, officials at Oregon Trail Financial Corp. have won a legal victory against an activist shareholder seeking to force a sale of the $410 million-asset holding company.

An Oregon State Circuit Court judge dismissed a suit filed Feb. 6 by investor Joseph Stilwell claiming that one of Oregon Trail’s directors, Charles H. Rouse, had violated the company’s residency requirements by moving out of its eastern Oregon market territory. Oregon Trail is the holding company for Pioneer Bank FSB, a former mutual thrift that converted to a stock company in 1997.

In May, Mr. Stilwell sued another director, Edward H. Elms, claiming that he lied under oath during a deposition taken in connection with the Feb. 6 suit. Later that month Mr. Elms countersued Mr. Stilwell, accusing him of libel. Those cases are still being tried.

Mr. Stilwell was unavailable for comment Friday. Berniel Maughan, Oregon Trail’s president and chief executive officer, said the company would send news of the Sept. 13 court decision to shareholders as part of its proxy battle with Mr. Stilwell, who is seeking to have two of his associates elected to the board of directors.

The company’s annual meeting, when it elects its board members, is scheduled for Sept. 28.

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