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.

RMBS Investors Sue U.S. Bank for Trust Losses

On August 5, 2015, RMBS investors filed a putative class action against U.S. Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court for the State of New York.  The investors assert that U.S. Bank, as trustee for the MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgage Trust 2006-OA2, harmed certificateholders in failing to timely request repurchase of defective mortgage loans by the sponsor, UBS Real Estate Securities.  The investors cite recent decisions, previously covered here and here, out of the New York federal court dismissing the trustee’s claims against U.B.S. as time-barred as to certain loans.  The complaint includes claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty to avoid conflicts of interest, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of New York’s Streit Act.  Complaint.

5th Circuit Revives FDIC’s Suit Against Goldman, Deutsche Bank, and Royal Bank of Scotland

On August 10, 2015, the Fifth Circuit revived a securities fraud suit brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as receiver for Guaranty Bank against Goldman Sachs & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, and the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC. The FDIC brought claims under the federal Securities Act and the Texas Securities Act, alleging that the defendants made false and misleading statements in selling and underwriting $2.1 billion in RMBS to Guaranty Bank. The suit was filed within the limitations period in the FDIC Extender Statute, 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(14), but outside of the limitations period in the Texas Securities Act. The district court held that state law statutes of repose are not pre-empted by the FDIC Extender Statute, and it therefore dismissed the case as untimely. The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded. The appellate court held that the FDIC Extender Statute preempts all state limitations periods, whether characterized as statutes of limitations or as statutes of repose. The court distinguished the Supreme Court’s decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 134 S. Ct. 2175 (2014), which held that a similar extender provision in CERCLA did not preempt state statutes of repose. The Fifth Circuit characterized the similarities between the two provisions as “superficial,” and cited legislative history as supporting Congress’s intent to preempt state statutes of repose.  Opinion.

GE Mortgage Holding, LLC Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

On July 30, 2015, District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York denied GE Mortgage Holding LLC’s (“GEMH”) motion for summary judgment in a repurchase action brought by the RMBS Trustee for the GE-WMC 2006-1 Trust.  GEMH moved for summary judgment arguing that unambiguous language in the Pooling and Service Agreement barred the Trustee from pressing loan repurchase claims against GEMH, claiming that it provided only for such claims against the originator, an affiliate of GEMH’s.  Judge Cote denied summary judgment finding that reasonable people could disagree with GEMH’s read of the agreement, pointing to other relevant contract provisions and the title of the section at issue as potentially supporting an alternate interpretation.  Opinion and Order.

Morgan Stanley and Natixis Win Dismissal of RMBS Claims

On July 14, 2015, Justice Friedman of the New York State Supreme Court for the County of New York granted in part Morgan Stanley & Co.’s motion to dismiss fraud claims brought by HSH Nordbank AG (“HSH”) and Carrera Capital Finance Limited (together, “Plaintiffs”) in connection with 21 RMBS securitizations, and granted in full a separate motion to dismiss filed by Natixis Real Estate Capital LLC (“Natixis”) against the same Plaintiffs.

Justice Friedman ruled that all claims against Natixis were barred by the statute of limitations for fraud in New York, finding that Plaintiffs could have discovered the alleged fraud at least two years prior to filing.  Justice Friedman also dismissed certain of HSH’s fraud claims because it did not sufficiently allege that the certificates’ original purchaser had intended to assign the claims to HSH.  The court will permit claims arising from certificates purchased directly by Plaintiffs to proceed.  Order.

Judge Scheindlin Denies Motion to Dismiss NCUA Claims

On July 20, 2015, Judge Scheindlin of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied HSBC Bank USA, NA’s (“HSBC”) motion to dismiss claims brought by the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) related to the administration of mortgage-backed securities worth $2 billion.  NCUA alleges that HSBC failed to perform its duties as the indentured trustee for 37 RMBS trusts.  Judge Scheindlin rejected HSBC’s argument that NCUA lacked standing to bring the suit because most of the debt had been resecuritized, and held that NCUA has standing to pursue the claims against HSBC derivatively because the current trustee of the resecuritized loans tacitly consented to the action by remaining neutral.  Opinion and Order.

JPMorgan Settles RMBS Class Action

On July 17, 2015, lead plaintiffs filed a stipulation and agreement settling a 2009 class action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMorgan”) alleging that the bank had misrepresented the quality of loans underlying $10 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities it sold.  Without admitting any wrongdoing JPMorgan agreed to pay plaintiffs $388 million, subject to court approval.  Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement.

Judge Cote Grants Partial Summary Judgment in RMBS Suit

On July 10, 2015, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York granted partial summary judgment in favor of defendants WMC Mortgage LLC and GE Mortgage Holding LLC in an action filed by Trustee Bank of New York Mellon (“BoNY”) in connection with the sale of over $900 Million in RMBS.  Judge Cote dismissed BoNY’s failure to repurchase claim against WMC, citing ACE v. DB Structured Products, which held that a failure to repurchase claim is not a separately enforceable right that gives rise to a separate breach of contract claim independent of a claim for breach of representations and warranties.  Judge Cote also dismissed BoNY’s indemnification claims against both defendants as duplicative of BoNY’s claim for breach of the representations and warranties in the Mortgage Loan Purchase Agreements (“MLPAs”).  BoNY’s primary claim, for breach of representations and warranties, was not a subject of the motion for partial summary judgment.  Opinion and Order.

In a separate decision, also issued on July 10, Judge Cote denied the defendants’ request for a jury trial, holding that the Trustee’s remaining claims, for breaches of the MLPAs and Pooling and Servicing Agreement seek equitable remedies.  Opinion and Order.

RMBS Suit Against WMC Mortgage LLC Dismissed as Time-Barred

On July 10, 2015, Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York granted defendant WMC Mortgage LLC’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in an action brought by the Federal Housing Financial Agency (“FHFA”) and Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (“DBNTC”), in its capacity as Trustee of the SABR 2006-WM4 Trust.  Judge Hellerstein held that the action was time-barred under New York’s six-year statute of limitations, citing the New York Court of Appeals’ decision in ACE Securities Corp., Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2006-SL2 v. DB Structured Products, Inc.  Judge Hellerstein concluded that the date on which the statute of limitations began to run was the signing date of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement, as opposed to the closing date, because the signing date was the point at which “all the right, title and interest” to the mortgage loans were transferred to the Trustee, and when all misrepresentations were made.  Order.