First Circuit Court of Appeals

Federal Appellate Court Reinstates RMBS Action Against Moody’s

On May 2, 2016, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a $5.9B suit brought by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (“FHLBB”), alleging that Moody’s Corp and Moody’s Investor’s Service, Inc. (together, “Moody’s”) knowingly provided false ratings on certain Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities purchased by FHLBB. The case had been dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction by Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. of the District of Massachusetts, who also held that the court could not transfer the case to another federal court where jurisdiction would be proper because 28 U.S.C. §1631 only permitted the transfer of cases dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, rather than personal jurisdiction.

The First Circuit vacated that decision, concluding that the plain language of 28 U.S.C. §1631, the statute’s legislative history, and case law from other Circuits all weighed in favor of a ruling that the statute also permits transfer where the claims at issue were dismissed on either personal or subject matter jurisdiction grounds. Accordingly, the First Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine whether transfer was “in the interests of justice,” in accord with the statutory requirement for transfer under 28 U.S.C. §1631.  Decision.

In Nomura Action, First Circuit Affirms Dismissal on Standing Grounds and Reverses Dismissal for Inadequate Pleading

On January 20, 2011, the First Circuit Court of Appeals partially affirmed and partially reversed a District Court decision in a putative class action brought against eight RMBS trusts, their underwriters, the depositor and its officers. The court affirmed the dismissal of all claims related to those trusts whose certificates had not been purchased by any of the named plaintiffs, holding that plaintiffs thereby lacked standing to sue. The court affirmed the dismissal of claims relating to appraisal practices as inadequately pled. The court also affirmed the dismissal of claims relating to credit ratings, holding that such ratings were inactionable opinions. However, the court vacated the dismissal of claims relating to the lending banks’ underwriting practices, holding that plaintiffs’ allegation of defendants’ wholesale abandonment of underwriting standards was sufficient to defeat the motion to dismiss. Decision