Thomas Kidera

Partner

New York


Read full biography at www.orrick.com
Tom Kidera is a partner in Orrick's New York office and a member of the firm's Complex Litigation and Dispute Resolution group.  He represents auditing firms, financial institutions, and the Firm's infrastructure clients in complex commercial litigations, internal investigations, and regulatory enforcement proceedings.

Tom represents auditing firms and accountants in regulatory proceedings commenced by the SEC and the PCAOB as well as civil litigations.  He has experience managing and conducting large scale internal investigations, liaising with regulators, remediating problems, and managing risk and liability in delicate circumstances. 

Tom also has substantial experience in RMBS-related matters representing securitization sponsors and mortgage loan servicers in an array of litigations from securities fraud and loan repurchase disputes to ERISA and consumer class actions, also consulting and advising on the interpretation of securitization documents and events of default.  

In addition, Tom advises the Firm's energy and infrastructure clients on litigation matters, previously having served as a member of the Orrick team representing Hemlock Semiconductor (a leading producer of solar-grade polycrystalline silicon) in commercial proceedings throughout the U.S. and around the globe.

Tom maintains an active pro bono practice representing asylum seekers and U.S. veterans seeking discharge status upgrades.  Tom is also active in firm recruiting and retention efforts, serving on the hiring and summer program committees in New York, as well as the Professional Development Committee.  He was a summer associate in the firm’s New York office in 2009.

Posts by: Thomas Kidera

Majority of Claims Against RBS Dismissed in MBS Suit

 

On November 14, 2016, plaintiff Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (“FHLBB“) and defendants RBS Securities Inc., RBS Acceptance, Inc., RBS Financial Products, Inc., and RBS Holdings, USA (Inc.) (together, “RBS“) filed a joint stipulation seeking the dismissal of certain securities fraud claims alleged by FHLBB in connection with the marketing and sale of 10 RMBS certificates. The stipulation of dismissal does not affect FHLBB’s claims against RBS arising from the sale of two other RMBS certificates, or FHLBB’s claims against any other defendant. FHLBB brought this litigation against RBS and dozens of other defendants in 2011, alleging violations of Massachusetts securities laws and claiming the defendants made untrue statements and omitted material facts about the quality of the loan pools underlying the securities. Further details of the dismissal are not publicly available. Stipulation.

Lehman Estate Settles Claims By RMBS Insurer and Trustee

 

On September 20, 2016, Judge Shelley Chapman of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the $37 million settlement of $1.3 billion in claims asserted against the estates of two defunct Lehman Brothers’ entities by Syncora Guarantee Inc. in its capacity as the insurer for certain certificates issued from the GMFT 2006-1 RMBS trust. After being sued by the GMFT 2006-1 Trustee for payment under the insurance policy, Syncora filed its own claim for indemnification against Lehman as sponsor of the securitization. In addition to settling Syncora’s claim, the agreement also releases Lehman from all potential claims brought by the GMFT 2006-1 Trustee, U.S. Bank NA, in exchange for Lehman’s cooperation in a separate lawsuit arising from GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Inc.’s alleged failure to repurchase defective loans. Settlement Order. Settlement Agreement Submitted For Approval.

SDNY Court Appoints Lead Master to Review 9,300 UBS Loans for Material Breach Following UBS Putback Trial

 

On September 6, 2016, following a 3-week long bench trial in May, U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York held that he will appoint a Lead Master to determine whether there are “material breaches” in 9,300 loans at issue in putback litigation against UBS. In its 239-page post-trial decision, after addressing a number of issues and discussing 20 loans, the Court appointed a Lead Master to examine each loan on an individual basis and prepare recommended findings and conclusions on liability.

The Court outlined Plaintiff’s burden of proof for breach of underwriting guidelines, holding that the Plaintiff must demonstrate it is more likely than not that the loan was not originated in compliance with the relevant underwriting guidelines, unless an exception was actually exercised, in a reasonable manner, at the time of origination. Plaintiffs will then be required to prove a breach has a “material and adverse” effect at the time UBS’s repurchase obligation was triggered. The Court held this can be shown: (1) by proving an increased risk of loss to certificateholders; (2) with evidence that a breach resulted in altered loan terms; or (3) through a showing of layered risk and/or the cumulative effect of multiple breaches. The Court held that discovery of a breach cannot be based on constructive knowledge. Instead, Plaintiffs must show actual knowledge, which may be established by circumstantial evidence, or willful blindness. Memorandum and Court Order.

Court Denies Summary Judgment on Issues of Timeliness in NCUA RMBS Suit

 

On September 1, 2016, Judge John W. Lungstrum of the U.S. District of Kansas denied cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of timeliness brought by RBS, Nomura and the NCUA in NCUA v. RBS Securities, et al. NCUA alleges in its 2011 complaint that it suffered losses of $800 million on 2006-2007 vintage RMBS certificates based on misstatements by the defendants. Defendants RBS and Nomura argued on summary judgment that NCUA’s claims must be dismissed because they were not brought within one year after discovering the allegedly untrue statement or omission, or after such discovery should have been reasonably made. NCUA argued in opposition that it did not have constructive notice of the facts underlying its claims by the relevant dates and that its claims were timely. The Court found that “a jury could reasonably find in favor” of either party as to what a “reasonably diligent investor would have known and done in 2007 and 2008 on the timeliness issue” and that as a result fact questions remained precluding summary judgment for either side. Memorandum and Court Order.

New York Intermediate Appellate Court Holds that Accrual Provision Does Not Save RMBS Trustee’s Time-Barred Putback Claim

 

On August 11, 2016, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York affirmed dismissal of an action brought by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as RMBS Trustee, against Quicken Loans, Inc. Following the New York Court of Appeals decision in the closely-followed case of ACE Securities Corp., Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2006-SL2 v. DB Structured Products, Inc. (covered here) – which held that a breach of contract claim in an RMBS putback action accrues on the date the representations and warranties are made – the First Department concluded Deutsche Bank’s action was time-barred, notwithstanding the presence of an accrual provision in the transaction documents that might have otherwise delayed the accrual of putback claims indefinitely. The decision holds that such accrual provisions are unenforceable attempts to extend the statute of limitations. Order.

New York Appellate Court Allows Fraud Claim to Proceed Against Morgan Stanley

On August 11, 2016, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York affirmed a trial court ruling that investor-plaintiff IKB International to proceed with claims that RMBS sponsor and underwriter Morgan Stanley knowingly misrepresented loans’ credit quality and characteristics. The Court affirmed a ruling that justifiable reliance was adequately pleaded as the complaint contained allegations that (i) plaintiffs hired investment advisors to analyze the offering documents for the 18 RMBS deals at issue; and (ii) plaintiffs lacked the access to (and the ability to demand) loan files prior to purchase.

Additionally, the Court agreed that the plaintiffs adequately pleaded the fraud element of scienter by alleging that Morgan Stanly learned about the loans’ defects during the course of its own due diligence reviews, and in its role as underwriter. Order.

New York Appellate Court Reverse Lower Court, Allows RMBS Action to Proceed Against Morgan Stanley

 

On August 11, 2016, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York reversed the lower court, allowing RMBS Trustee U.S. Bank to proceed with claims against Morgan Stanley in connection with alleged losses of $140 million resulting from the sale of allegedly defective loans. Following its own ruling from last year (covered here), the First Department again concluded that the alleged failure to notify securitization counterparties of breaches of representations and warranties constitutes a viable cause of action independent from claims arising from the alleged breaches themselves. The First Department also reversed dismissal of the plaintiff’s gross negligence claims noting that – notwithstanding language in the governing contract’s sole remedy provision – the law does not permit a party to insulate itself from paying for damages arising from its grossly negligent conduct. Order.

WMC Settles $1 Billion RMBS Suit During Pendency Of Appeal

 

On August 9, 2016, RMBS trustee Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and WMC Mortgage, LLC, filed a joint motion to stay an appeal pending in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The parties requested the stay to allow them time to finalize the settlement of a lawsuit alleging that WMC misrepresented the quality of loans it sold in a $1 billion 2006 RMBS offering. The trial court had previously dismissed the lawsuit in 2015 (covered here) as time-barred under New York’s six-year statute of limitations. Joint Motion.

New York Court Dismisses Claims against EquiFirst and Barclays as Untimely

On July 25, 2016, Justice Marcy Friedman of the New York Supreme Court dismissed a $619 million suit brought by U.S. Bank in its capacity as Trustee of an RMBS trust against the originator of the loans, Equifirst, Barclays’ now-defunct mortgage originator. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”), as conservator of an RMBS certificateholder, initially filed the summons with notice on February 28, 2013, the six-year anniversary of the securitization’s closing date.  U.S. Bank waited another six months before filing the complaint on October 28, 2013.  U.S. Bank brought claims for breach of contract for Equifirst’s alleged misrepresentations regarding the quality of the underlying mortgage loans, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing arising from an alleged failure to notify contractual counterparties of Equifirst’s alleged breaches.  Relying on a recent intermediate appellate decision and her orders in similar cases, Justice Friedman dismissed those claims holding that FHFA, as a certificateholder, lacked standing to commence the action, and that the Trustee’s complaint, which was filed after the passage of the statute of limitations, did not relate back to FHFA’s summons with notice.  The court granted U.S. Bank leave to replead its failure to notify claims. Order.

Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Certain Claims Against Trustee

On July 5, 2016, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York affirmed the partial grant of Bank of New York Mellon’s (“BNY”) motion to dismiss certain claims brought by RMBS investors arising from BNY’s alleged failure to perform its duties as RMBS trustee. While the court affirmed partial denial of BNY’s motion to dismiss the negligence claims as duplicative of the contract claims, it also affirmed that portion of the trial court’s order granting BNY’s motion to dismiss portions of those negligence claims to the extent they are predicated on the incorrect assumption that a trustee owes a duty to (i) monitor other PSA counterparties’ performance of basic non-ministerial tasks; and/or (ii) put its “nose to the source” to uncover improper counterparty conduct.  The First Department also held that the trial court should have dismissed contract claims against BNY alleging a breach of the alleged duty to notify PSA counterparties of loan seller representation and warranty breaches, as they had not been sufficiently alleged.  It also affirmed dismissal of all breach of fiduciary duty claims. Decision.