WMC Mortgage and GE Mortgage Holding Settle RMBS Repurchase Case

On September 21, 2015, Judge Denise L. Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York endorsed Bank of New York Mellon’s (“BNYM”) September 18, 2015 letter reporting that the parties had settled a case in which BNYM sought repurchase of a number of allegedly defective loans as trustee for the GE-WMC Mortgage Securities Trust 2006-1.  The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  Endorsed Letter.

In a ruling last month, Judge Cote had significantly reduced the potential damages in the case by holding that the trustee’s potential damages were limited to the repurchase price defined in the relevant agreements, which included the stated principal balance of “zero” for all liquidated loans.

$600 Million RMBS Repurchase Suit Against J.P. Morgan Dismissed

On September 18, 2015, Justice Shirley Kornreich of the Supreme Court of the State of New York dismissed a $600 million suit brought by Bank of New York Mellon, as securitization trustee (“BNYM”), against WLM Mortgage, LLC, J.P. Morgan Acquisition Corporation, and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.  BNYM brought the action as trustee for the J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust, Series 2006-WMC2, alleging that the defendants breached contractual representations and warranties as to 1,593 or more of the mortgage loans in the trust.  The defendants sought dismissal on the ground that BNYM’s put-back claims were time barred under the New York Court of Appeals’ decision in ACE v. DB Structured Products.  Justice Kornreich held that under ACE, BNYM’s claims were untimely because BNYM did not bring them within six years of the closing date of the transaction.  The court further held that the trustee did not have a separate claim for the defendants’ alleged failure to notify the trustee of breaches of representations and warranties.  Decision & Order.

Claims Dismissed From RMBS Class Action Against Citibank

On September 8, 2015, the Southern District of New York dismissed, for lack of jurisdiction, a large portion of claims from a derivative class action alleging that Citibank NA, as trustee of 27 trusts, had breached its contractual, statutory, and common law duties in connection with $17 billion of pooled loans.  Plaintiffs invoked federal jurisdiction based on the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 (“TIA”) and asked the court to take supplemental jurisdiction over the accompanying state law claims.  Plaintiffs asserted TIA claims in connection with just 3 of the 27 trusts.  The court held that those claims could proceed, denying Citibank’s argument that the TIA does not provide a private right of action.  However, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims relating to the other 24 trusts.  The court concluded that supplemental jurisdiction was permissible, but that it should nonetheless decline such jurisdictions because the claims as to each trust—which must be litigated loan-by-loan and trust-by-trust—were not sufficiently related.  Order.

Bank of America and Midland Settle RMBS Litigation

On September 8, 2015, Bank of America NA and Midland Loan Services settled Bank of America’s lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not breach the representations and warranties in connection with a CMBS securitization and, consequently, did not need to repurchase loans from the securitization.  As a result of the settlement, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.  The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  Dismissal Order.

Goldman Sachs Wins Summary Judgment In CDO Class Action

On September 8, 2015, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in a class action lawsuit concerning the sale of two collateralized debt obligations.  The court had previously dismissed plaintiffs’ fraud claims on all grounds but one—whether Goldman was aware of “singularly prohibitive risks” associated with the CDOs but failed to completely and accurately disclose those risks.  At summary judgment, it held that plaintiffs had not shown sufficient evidence to prove Goldman’s knowledge of such risks.  In particular, the court rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on inflammatory emails, which merely “show, at most, that some Goldman employees, based on the same information available to Plaintiffs, were bearish on the RMBS market.”  The court also found insufficient evidence that Goldman knew the CDOs would perform poorly and intended for them to perform poorly.  Order.

Potential Damages in RMBS Suit Against WMC Mortgage Drastically Reduced

On August 18, 2015, Judge Denise Cote of the federal district court for the Southern District of New York addressed the appropriate measure of potential damages in an action by Bank of New York Mellon (BoNY), as RMBS trustee, against WMC Mortgage, LLC and GE Mortgage Holding, L.L.C. In that action, BoNY seeks repurchase of a number of allegedly defective loans as trustee for the GE-WMC Mortgage Securities Trust 2006-1.  Judge Cote previously held that where repurchase is unavailable, the trustee may be entitled to damages.  On defendants’ motion to exclude the testimony of the trustee’s damages expert, the court held that the trustee’s potential damages are limited to the repurchase price for liquidated loans, as defined in the relevant agreements.  One component of that measure is the stated principal balance of the loan; the agreements define the stated principal balance of liquidated loans as “zero.”  The trustee’s damages expert had not used this measure.  As a result, Judge Cote struck the report of the trustee’s damages expert.  The decision reduces potential damages on liquidated loans from $379 million (as calculated by the trustee’s expert) to $13.3 million (the maximum calculated by the defense expert).  Order.

Seventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment Ruling in RMBS Case

On August 21, 2015, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a Wisconsin federal judge’s ruling granting summary judgment to RBS Securities Inc. (“RBS”)  dismissing all but one of CUNA Mutual Group’s (“CUNA”) claims alleging that RBS had made material misrepresentations regarding RMBS it had sold.  The Seventh Circuit held that because CUNA’s claims against RBS sound in fraud rather than contract they are not time-barred under Wisconsin law.  The court also held that a reasonable juror could find that CUNA had relied on representations in the offering documents notwithstanding that CUNA’s trader could not recall whether he had actually read the specific representations or deal documents at issue in the case.  Order.

FHFA’s $32 Billion RMBS Claims Are Not Time-Barred

On August 21, 2015, Judge Alvin Thompson of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut denied Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC’s (“RBS”) motion for summary judgment as to claims brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) alleging that RBS made misleading statements in connection with $32.1 billion in RMBS that it had sold between 2005 and 2008.  The court concluded that FHFA’s claims against RBS are not time-barred because the extender statute in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 preempts statutes of repose as well as statutes of limitations, pointing to the statutory language, congressional intent, and recent precedent in support of its holding.  Order.

FDIC Sues BNY Mellon For Alleged Failure As Trustee of RMBS

On August 19, 2015, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., acting as receiver for Guaranty Bank, filed suit against Bank of New York Mellon Corp. in New York federal court, alleging that BNY breached its duties as trustee of 12 RMBS trusts that issued approximately $2 billion in certificates.  The trusts were sponsored by Countrywide Home Loans and EMC Mortgage Corp.  The FDIC alleges that BNY breached its contractual obligations by failing to provide notice of representation and warranty violations and demand Countrywide and EMC to replace or buy back the noncompliant loans, provided false regulatory certifications and remittance reports, and failed to take possession of complete mortgage files.  The FDIC asserts claims for breach of contract, the federal Trust Indenture Act, and the New York Streit Act.  Complaint.

Union Pension Fund Requests Approval of Settlement With Goldman Sachs in RMBS Litigation

On August 13, 2015, union pension fund NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare (“NECA”) and the Police and Fire Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit (“PFRS”), acting on behalf of proposed classes of institutional and individual investors, requested preliminary approval for a $272 million settlement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  The proposed settlement would conclude lawsuits in which NECA and PFRS alleged that Goldman Sachs had made numerous misstatements about the loans underlying $6 billion in RMBS offerings.  Stipulation and Agreement of SettlementMemorandum ISO Preliminary Approval.