Lehman Brothers to Pay $2.38 Billion in Connection with RMBS Claims


On March 8, 2018, Judge Shelley C. Chapman of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision from the bench valuing RMBS breach of representation and warranty claims against now-defunct Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. at approximately $2.38 billion. While the Trustees of the Lehman-issued RMBS at issue sought an $11.4 billion valuation, the Court concluded that such a figure was not a fair or reasonable estimate of the claims, particularly in light of the fact that over a dozen institutional investors agreed to the lower figure earlier in the proceedings. The Court also highlighted that the Trustees could not point to any comparable settlement to support their valuation.

SDNY Grants Trustees’ Motion to Dismiss Triaxx CDOs’ RMBS Claims with Prejudice


On March 8, 2018, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a Memorandum and Order granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint in its entirety in Triaxx Prime CDO 2006-1, Ltd., et al. v. The Bank of New York Mellon and U.S. Bank, N.A., and forbidding Plaintiffs from amending the Complaint any further. In dismissing Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claims for lack of standing, the Court found that Plaintiffs failed to remedy the deficiencies that previously resulted in dismissal of these same claims, covered here (“Triaxx I“), because Plaintiffs assigned away their right to sue under the contracts. Judge Buchwald also dismissed Plaintiffs’ negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims because Plaintiffs failed to allege that Defendants owed them any duty of care or fiduciary duty. Additionally, the Court held that the fiduciary duty claims were an improper attempt to re-plead claims already dismissed as abandoned in Triaxx I, and in any event, the claims were barred by New York’s economic loss doctrine. Plaintiffs’ claim for equitable relief directing U.S. Bank to assign Plaintiffs the authority to sue was also dismissed as inappropriate and unsupported by law. [Memorandum and Order]

S.D.N.Y. Denies Plaintiffs’ Request to Use Sampling in RMBS Action Against Trustee

On February 23, 2018, Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Plaintiffs’ objection to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn’s opinion and order denying Plaintiffs’ request to re-underwrite a sample of loans in RMBS trusts in order to establish liability and damages in their suits against HSBC Bank as RMBS trustee. Judge Schofield found no clear error in Judge Netburn’s opinion, which held that sampling cannot establish either damages or liability because the contract requires Plaintiffs to prove that HSBC breached its contractual obligations as trustee on a loan-by-loan basis. The opinion held that “a sampling is just that, and by definition cannot provide loan specific information as to any loan outside the sample.” [Sampling Order]

Court Denies Dismissal of RMBS Trustee’s Claim for Failure to Notify


On March 7, 2018, New York Supreme Court Justice Marcy S. Friedman denied a motion by Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. (“Morgan Stanley”) to dismiss a claim by RMBS Trustee Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (the “Trustee”) for failure to notify the Trustee of alleged breaches of representations and warranties regarding the mortgage loans in an RMBS trust. As a matter of first impression, Justice Friedman ruled that a claim for failure to notify does not accrue until the defendant discovers a breach of representations and warranties and fails to promptly notify the Trustee. She rejected Defendants’ argument that failure to notify claims accrue on the closing date, at the same time as the underlying claim for breach of representation and warranty. The court further held, however, that the Trustee was not harmed by any failure to notify occurring after the contractual repurchase period has ended; in other words, after six years from closing. Justice Friedman also reaffirmed that a Trustee bringing a failure to notify claim ultimately would bear the burden to prove that the failure to notify caused it some form of compensable harm.  [Order]

RBS Settles New York AG RMBS Claims for $500M

On March 6, 2018, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that the State of New York has reached a settlement with RBS Financial Products Inc. f/k/a Greenwich Capital Financial Products, Inc. (“RBS“) to resolve potential claims against RBS under New York’s Martin Act and Executive Law arising from the structuring, underwriting, issuance, and sale of 44 RMBS Trusts and related Certificates by RBS and its affiliates between 2006 and 2007. The $500M settlement includes a $100M payment to the State of New York, an additional $400M paid in the form of consumer relief, and an agreement by RBS to acknowledge certain facts relating to its alleged misconduct between 2006 and 2007. Press Release. Settlement Agreement.

Court Partially Grants Motion to Dismiss in RMBS Certificateholder Suit

On March 2, 2018, Judge Louis L. Stanton of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part and denied in part a motion by RMBS issuers and underwriters to dismiss five new claims asserted in a second amended complaint filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC“) as receiver for Colonial Bank. As previously covered, the FDIC’s initial and first amended complaints asserted claims for violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act“), alleging that defendants made, or controlled entities that made, untrue or misleading statements in registration statements relating to certain RMBS. The court dismissed the claims as time-barred, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed. After remand, the second amended complaint added five new claims under the Alabama Securities Act, Nevada Uniform Securities Act, and Section 12(a)(2) of the 1933 Act. Judge Stanton granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss as to the FDIC’s claims under the Nevada Uniform Securities Act and Section 12(a)(2) of the 1933 Act, on the ground that those claims were barred by applicable statutes of repose. Judge Stanton also granted the motion to dismiss as to the FDIC’s Alabama Securities Act claims against the defendant banks that served as depositors on certain RMBS certificates because FDIC did not allege that those defendants acted as sellers of the certificates, as required by law. The remainder of the claims survived defendants’ motion to dismiss. OrderSecond Amended Complaint.

New York Appellate Court Dismisses Two Deutsche Bank RBMS Suits Under California’s Four-Year Statute Of Limitations


On December 5, 2017, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York unanimously overturned a New York Supreme Court holding that California’s statute of limitations did not bar Plaintiff’s claims.  Trustee Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“DBNTC“) had brought suit against Barclays Bank PLC and HSBC (collectively, the “Defendants“).  The Defendants had moved to dismiss on the grounds that New York’s borrowing statute, CPLR 202, requires out-of-state plaintiffs to bring cases within the timeframes set forth in statutes of limitations established under both New York law and under the place “where the cause of action accrued.”  Defendants argued that the suits brought by DBNTC, whose principal place of business is California, were thus barred by California’s four-year statute of limitations for contract actions.  DBNTC argued that the New York choice-of-law clauses of the underlying contracts should determine the applicable statute of limitations.  The First Department held that “because these provisions do not expressly incorporate the New York statute of limitations, they cannot be read to encompass that [six-year] limitation period.”  Rather, “in cases where (as here) the alleged injury is purely economic,” the cause of action is deemed “to have accrued in the jurisdiction of the plaintiff’s residence.”  Decision.

S.D.N.Y. Denies Plaintiffs’ Sampling Motion in Consolidated Actions Against RMBS Trustee


On August 21, 2017, Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York upheld a magistrate’s order denying plaintiff-certificateholders’ motion to attempt to prove their claims by re-underwriting a sample of the loans at issue in a consolidated action against Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, in its capacity as RMBS trustee. Judge Failla, after reviewing the magistrate’s order for clear error, affirmed that under the governing agreements, to prevail on a breach of contract claim against an RMBS trustee with respect to the loans underlying the trust, Plaintiffs must demonstrate a breach on a loan-by-loan and trust-by-trust basis. Accordingly, Plaintiffs cannot utilize sampling in their efforts to prove that the RMBS trustee breached its contractual obligations. Judge Failla also noted that Plaintiffs, rather than needing to prove that the trustee had actual knowledge of breaches of representations and warranties, could potentially demonstrate the trustee’s discovery of breaches through a showing of conscious avoidance or implied actual knowledge. Wells Fargo Sampling Order.

Connecticut District Court Denies WMC Mortgage’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment


On August 8, 2017, Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut denied defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment in Law Debenture Trust Co. of New York v. WMC Mortgage.  The court held that plaintiff may continue to pursue its failure-to-notify claim on loans other than the loans for which plaintiff had specifically notified WMC of alleged breaches.  Judge Haight also declined to prohibit Plaintiff from using statistical sampling to prove liability and damages, although he did not find that such sampling would ultimately be sufficient to prove the plaintiff’s claim, and refused to grant defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the meaning of a “material and adverse” breach. Read the summary judgment order here.

Court Enters Verdict for Bank of New York Mellon in Ohio RMBS Trustee Litigation



On August 4, 2017, Judge Steven E. Martin of the Ohio Court of Common Pleas rendered a full verdict in favor of Defendant-Trustee The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM“) in Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, et al. v. The Bank of New York Mellon following a three-week bench trial.

Judge Martin held that plaintiffs failed to prove that BNYM’s conduct caused losses on the RMBS at issue, instead finding that any losses on the RMBS were caused by the fallout of the financial crisis itself, or by “potentially other entities” besides BNYM.  The court also determined that plaintiffs’ methodology for establishing its alleged damages—by sampling a fraction of the loans at issue and extrapolating conclusions therefrom—was inappropriate given the applicable contracts.  Echoing recent decisions in New York State and Federal Courts, Judge Martin found that “countless” provisions in the pooling and servicing agreements require plaintiffs to prove their claims loan-by-loan, rather than through sampling. Read the opinion letter here.