putative class action complaint

Federal Judge Grants Motion to Dismiss Claims Against Bank of America as Successor to Countrywide

On April 20, 2011, Judge Mariana Pfaelzer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted Bank of America’s motion to dismiss the claims against it in a putative class action complaint that sought to hold Bank of America liable for Countrywide’s alleged misstatements and omissions regarding Countrywide’s loan origination practices. Plaintiffs argued that Bank of America can be held liable as a successor to Countrywide’s liability because the asset transfer between Bank of America and its subsidiary Countrywide constituted a de facto merger. Judge Pfaelzer disagreed; in applying Delaware law, Judge Pfaelzer noted that “Delaware courts use the doctrine of de facto merger sparingly” and declined to apply the doctrine here. Notably, Judge Pfaelzer’s decision runs contrary to an April 2010 decision by New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten which held, under New York law, that the asset transfer did constitute a de facto merger and that Bank of America could be liable as a successor to Countrywide. Pfaelzer Decision. Bransten Decision.

Putative Investor Class Action Brought in S.D.N.Y. Against Bank of America Alleging False Statements Relating to Bank of America’s RMBS Exposure

Anchorage Police & Fire Retirement System v. Bank of America Corp., No. 11-2216 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2011)

An Alaska retirement fund filed a putative class action complaint against Bank of America and certain of its directors and officers in the Southern District of New York. Plaintiff bring claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the ’34 Act, alleging that defendants concealed material information and made false and misleading statements relating to Bank of America’s exposure to several forms of risk, including Bank of America’s (1) exposure to faulty mortgages originated by Countrywide; (2) exposure to mortgages upon which it could not legally foreclose; (3) exposure to systemic mortgage servicing problems; and (4) “dollar rolling” practice, through which the company allegedly artificially reduced reported leverage ratios while taking on more risk than it disclosed to the market and federal regulators. Complaint.