JPMorgan Sued Over $959 Million RMBS Trust

On October 10, the Bank of New York Mellon, suing as trustee for the J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust, Series 2006-WMC3 trust, filed a summons with notice in the Supreme Court for the State of New York against WMC Mortgage LLC, J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Corp., and JPMorgan Chase Bank.  The trustee alleges that the defendants breached contractual representations and warranties and discovered such breaches during origination, due diligence, and servicing of the loans, but failed to adhere to their notice and repurchase obligations with respect to at least 334 of mortgage loans in the $959 million RMBS trust.  Bank of New York Mellon also asserts that JPMorgan Chase Bank, as servicer, breached its servicing obligations through, among other things, ineffective collection activities, delays in foreclosure, and improper modifications.  The trustee seeks damages of no less than $475 million related to the alleged contractual breaches, rescissory damages, an order of specific performance of repurchase, reimbursement of expenses, and pre- and post-judgment interest.  Summons with Notice.

Greenpoint’s Motion to Dismiss Loan Misrepresentation Suit Granted in Part

On October 15, Judge Donovan Frank of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, granted in part and denied in part Greenpoint Mortgage Funding’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Residential Funding Co., an affiliate of Residential Capital.  Residential Funding alleged that Greenpoint breached representations and warranties in connection with $88 million in mortgage loans it sold to Residential Funding and that Residential Funding securitized.  Following a bankruptcy court’s 2013 approval of a global settlement of Residential Funding’s RMBS-related liabilities, Residential Funding sued Greenpoint seeking indemnification and damages for breach of contract.  Judge Frank dismissed the breach of contract claim as time barred under Minnesota’s six-year statute of limitations because the alleged breaches at issue occurred when the loans were acquired, which was more than six years before Residential Funding filed suit.  Judge Frank did not dismiss the indemnification claim, which Greenpoint argued was not properly assigned to Residential Funding, because whether Residential Funding was the proper plaintiff was a factual question that could not be resolved on the pleadings.  Order.

Court Grants in Part and Denies in Part JPMorgan’s Motion to Dismiss RMBS Action

On October 16, Judge Susan J. Dlott of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted in part and denied in part several JPMorgan entities’ motion to dismiss a complaint filed by several Western & Southern Life Insurance entities relating to $202 million in RMBS certificates.  Western & Southern asserted 14 causes of action, including claims for violations of the Ohio Securities Act, the Ohio RICO statute, the federal Securities Act of 1933, and for common law fraud, conspiracy, and tortious interference with contract.  The court dismissed Ohio Securities Act claims as to certain certificates, finding them time barred under Ohio’s five-year statute of repose.  The court declined to dismiss the remaining Ohio Securities Act claims as untimely, holding that when Western & Southern was put on notice of its claims for statute of limitations purposes was a question of fact.  The court also held that Western & Southern adequately alleged falsity and scienter with respect to alleged misstatements concerning underwriting guidelines, appraisals, owner occupancy, credit ratings, and title transfer.  As to the federal Securities Act claims, the court held that they were time barred under the applicable three-year statute of repose and that Western & Southern could not rely on American Pipe tolling to extend the period for filing its claims.  The court dismissed the tortious interference with contract claim on the ground that the claim is not available against a party to the contract at issue.  Finally, the Court held that the Ohio RICO claims were sufficiently pled.  Order.

First Department Affirms Dismissal of Ambac’s Contract Claims Against EMC

On October 16, the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of New York affirmed the dismissal of Ambac Assurance Corporation’s breach of contract claims against EMC Mortgage arising out of an RMBS transaction that Ambac insured.  The court held that Ambac, as a third-party beneficiary to the pooling and servicing agreement for the transaction, lacked standing to enforce the repurchase protocol set forth in the PSA, which is the sole available remedy for alleged breaches of representations and warranties related to mortgage loans in the transaction.  Instead, the PSA provides the trustee the exclusive right to enforce the repurchase protocol.  Opinion.

Court Dismisses Suit Alleging Fraud by Merrill Lynch in the Sale of RMBS

On October 8, Justice Charles E. Ramos of the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York, Commercial Division entered an order dismissing an amended complaint brought by Phoenix Light SF Limited, Silver Elms CDO PLC, Silver Elms CDO II Limited, and Kleros Preferred Funding V PLC against Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. The plaintiffs alleged Merrill Lynch committed fraud in its sale of more than $210 million of RMBS. The court held that the fraud allegations were not specific enough to meet New York’s heightened pleading standard for fraud claims and some of the alleged misstatements were not actionable because they postdated the sale. Justice Ramos dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Decision.

MBIA Allowed to Pursue Fraudulent Inducement Claim Against J.P. Morgan

On September 19, Justice Alan D. Scheinkman of the New York Supreme Court for Westchester County granted in part MBIA’s motion for leave to amend its complaint against J.P. Morgan in an action related to a Bear Stearns RMBS transaction that MBIA insured. In May, the court granted summary judgment in favor of J.P. Morgan on the sole claim of fraud in the original complaint. In that decision, however, the court noted that while MBIA could not demonstrate fraud, there may have been unpleaded causes of action for fraudulent concealment and/or relief available under Section 3105 of the New York Insurance Law. MBIA then sought to file an amended complaint containing those two new claims and an amended fraud claim. As all of these claims were viable at the time of the original complaint, J.P. Morgan argued that the claims were precluded by the doctrine of res judicata based on the court’s summary judgment decision. The court rejected this argument and held that res judicata only applied to the pleaded fraud claim and not to the new claims. As to the substance of MBIA’s amended claims, the court granted leave to file an amended complaint on the fraudulent concealment claim alone, dismissing the previously pleaded fraud claim and MBIA’s Section 3105 claim. Order.

MBS Investor Class Partially Certified Against J.P. Morgan

On September 30, Judge Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York partially certified a class of MBS investors under Rule 23(b) in Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Company. The plaintiffs allege that J.P. Morgan made misleading statements in the offering documents underlying approximately $10 billion worth of MBS certificates. Judge Oetken certified the class for liability purposes only, but not damages. Judge Oetken held that while plaintiffs had met the necessary elements for liability purposes, they had not come forth with a damages model that was precise enough to permit the court to permit the calculation of damages on a class wide basis. The court’s order did not preclude certification of the class for damages purposes in the future, if plaintiffs develop a model sufficient to demonstrate damages across the class. Order.

Court Reverses Itself and Dismisses RMBS Fraud Complaint Against Several Banks

On September 30, Judge Sam Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a motion to dismiss plaintiff Town North Bank’s amended complaint against UBS, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and J.P. Morgan, among others. Town North Bank asserted claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Texas Securities Act. In March 2013, Judge Lindsay had denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss but reviewed the briefs anew when the defendants filed a motion for interlocutory appeal. Upon that review, Judge Lindsay sua sponte vacated the March 2013 order and granted the motion to dismiss. In particular, Judge Lindsay found claims related to certain of the alleged misstatements time barred under the applicable statute of repose found in 28 U.S.C. § 1658(b). As to the remaining statements, Judge Lindsay found that Town North Bank had not adequately alleged that the Defendants “made” the statements in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders. The court also concluded that Town North Bank did not allege scienter with sufficient particularity because the amended complaint lacked factual allegations from which the court could reasonably infer that Defendants were aware of any false statements at the time they were made. Order.

RMBS Trustee Files New Repurchase Action Against Nomura

On September 17, HSBC Bank USA NA, as trustee for an RMBS trust, filed suit in the Supreme Court for the State of New York against Nomura Credit & Capital Inc. over approximately $613 million in RMBS issued in May 2007. The complaint alleges that Nomura failed to repurchase securitized mortgage loans that breached representations and warranties made by Nomura concerning, among other things, the loans’ credit characteristics, origination, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The lawsuit seeks Nomura’s repurchase of the allegedly defective loans or equivalent money damages. The complaint follows the dismissal of a prior complaint in federal court that was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Complaint.

RMBS Trustee Files New Repurchase Action Against Nomura

On September 17, HSBC Bank USA NA, as trustee for an RMBS trust, filed suit in the Supreme Court for the State of New York against Nomura Credit & Capital Inc. over approximately $613 million in RMBS issued in May 2007.  The complaint alleges that Nomura failed to repurchase securitized mortgage loans that breached representations and warranties made by Nomura concerning, among other things, the loans’ credit characteristics, origination, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.  The lawsuit seeks Nomura’s repurchase of the allegedly defective loans or equivalent money damages.  The complaint follows the dismissal of a prior complaint in federal court that was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.   Complaint.