Regular readers know that I have been tracking subprime-related class-action lawsuits (here). In a recent post, I noted my interest in trying to develop a similar list of subprime-related derivative lawsuits. In response to my request, a number of readers supplied helpful information, and as a result I have been able to develop a list of subprime-related derivative lawsuits, which can be accessed here.
The list is accurate but it may not be complete. Readers aware of any other subprime-related derivative lawsuits are encouraged to let me know, so that I can address any omissions. I will update the list as new lawsuits come in or as new information becomes available.
The table of cases I have compiled lists the companies that have been named as nominal defendants in shareholders’ derivative lawsuits. Some of the companies listed actually have been sued in multiple derivative suits, and some companies have been sued in multiple jurisdictions. However, where the allegations relate to substantially similar allegations, each company has only been listed once, regardless of the number of actual derivative lawsuits pending. Where I have been able to supply relevant links (in most cases to the actual complaint), the link pertains to the first filed suit.
As the list reflects, a total of 20 companies have been sued as nominal defendants in subprime-related derivative lawsuits. The derivative suits against seven of these companies were first filed in 2008, the rest in 2007. Most (but not all) of the companies named in the derivative suits have also been named in subprime-related securities class action lawsuits. Most of the companies sued in the derivative lawsuits are in the lending and banking industries, but the list also includes insurance companies, home builders, and REITs, among other.
Special thanks to Adam Savett of the Securities Litigation Watch (here) for providing information and links to several of the lawsuits, and thanks to all readers who provided information and suggestions in response to my inquiry.
Another Auction Rate Securities Lawsuit: On April 8. 2008, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed another purported securities class action lawsuit on behalf of auction rate securities investors against the companies that allegedly sold them the securities, in this case Raymond James Financial. A copy of the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ April 8 press release can be found here, and a copy of the complaint can be found here.
This brings the total number of auction rate securities lawsuits to eleven. My prior post discussing the auction rate securities lawsuits can be found here. I have been tracking the auction rate securities lawsuits as part of my running tally of subprime-related class action lawsuits, about which more below.
Adjusting the Subprime-Related Class Action Litigation Tally: Also as a result of my efforts to build the list of subprime-related derivative lawsuits, I received additional information regarding three previously filed securities class action lawsuits. In the past, I had determined that these three lawsuits were not appropriately categorized as subprime-related. However, upon further inquiry and based on conversations with some readers, I have now added these three additional lawsuits to my running tally of subprime-related securities class action lawsuits. The three added lawsuits related to Municipal Mortgage & Equity (about which refer here), WSB Financial Corp. (refer here), and CBRE Realty Finance (refer here).
With the addition of these three lawsuits, and with the addition of the Raymond James auction rate securities lawsuit referenced above, my running tally of subprime-related lawsuits now stands at 68. One unfortunate consequence of my decision to add these three cases is that now my running tally may no longer agree with others’ tallies, such as the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action website (here). There is an inherent categorization problem in trying to track the subprime lawsuits. Reasonable minds will disagree about whether a case is or is not appropriately categorized as subprime related. There are almost always going to be some disagreements at the margins.
Many thanks to the readers who supplied the information and commentary about the three class action lawsuits.
Subprime ERISA Lawsuit Update: As most readers know, I have also been tracking subprime-related ERISA lawsuits (here). As a result of my research and inquiries regarding subprime derivative lawsuits, I identified three additional subprime-related ERISA lawsuits of which I previously had been unaware. These three additional ERISA lawsuits pertain to Huntington Bankshares (refer here), National City Corp. (refer here), and Impac Mortgage (refer here).
With the addition of these three suits to my list, the number of subprime-related ERISA lawsuits now stands at 14, five of which have been filed in 2008, and the remainder of which were filed in 2007.
Two Options Backdating Case Developments: Two courts recently issued rulings on motions to dismiss in options backdating-related lawsuits.
First, on March 31, 2008, in the Juniper Networks option backdating-related securities litigation (about which refer here), Judge James Ware of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California largely denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, except that he granted the motion (with leave to amend) as to one individual defendants, and he granted the motion to dismiss all alleged misrepresentations that took place prior to July 14, 2001, as time barrred. A copy of the March 31 order in the Juniper Networks case can be found here.
Second, and also on March 31, 2008, in the Microtune options-backdating related derivative litigation, Judge Richard Schiff of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, albeit with leave to amend as to certain individuals on certain claims. A copy of the Microtune opinion can be found here. Judge Schell first concluded the Congress had not created a private right of action under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and dismissed that claim. Judge Schell also granted the dismissal with prejudice of claims of allegedly misleading proxy statements as to the individual defendants who were not on the board at the time of the proxy. The proxy allegations were dismissed without prejudice as to the remaining individual defendants. Similarly, the plaintiffs’ claims based on Section 10(b) were also all dismissed, but with prejudice as to some defendants and without prejudice as to others. The court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ state law claims.
I have added these two decisions to my table of options backdating related case dispositions, which can be accessed here. Readers are encouraged to let me know about case dispositions of which they become aware so that I can add them to the list.
Special thanks to Nick Even of the Haynes and Boone firm for the link to the Microtune decision.
New Century Updated: In an earlier post (here), I noted that the court had granted (with leave to amend) the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the first-filed subprime related securities class action lawsuit, involving New Century Financial Corporation. On March 24, 2008, the plaintiffs filed their amended complaint (here), which names as defendants not only certain former directors and officers of the company, but also the company’s former auditor, KPMG, and the company’s offering underwriters.
Readers will recall that in connection with the New Century bankruptcy proceeding, the bankruptcy examiner recently released a detailed report (about which refer here) in which, among other things, the examiner reviewed the question of the auditors’ and the company's directors and officers' potential responsibility for certain accounting practices and statements at the company. In light of the bank examiner’s report, the plaintiffs sought (and the defendants’ agreed not to oppose) leave to file a second amended complaint, which the court granted. The plaintiffs’ must file their second amended complaint by April 30, 2008. The court also set a briefing schedule for the anticipated motion to dismiss, to be argued September 8, 2008. A copy of the court’s order granting leave and setting the scheduling can be found here.
A German Securities Trial?: The Securities Litigation Watch has an interesting post (here) about the apparent mass securities lawsuits trial that has commenced in Germany involving Deutsche Telecom. An April 7, 2008 Business Week article discussing the trial can be found here.