IndyMac CEO Settles Long-Running Subprime-Related Securities Suit

IndyMac CEO Settles Long-Running Subprime-Related Securities Suit

When plaintiffs first filed their securities class action lawsuit against IndyMac Bancorp back in March 2007, the suit was one of the first of what later became a wave of subprime and credit crisis-related securities class action lawsuits. The suit itself, which has come to be known as the Tripp litigation, initially was dismissed and ultimately went through multiple rounds of dismissal motions. In March 2008, during the round of preliminary motions, and in what is the fifth largest bank failure in U.S. history, regulators closed IndyMac Bank. In August 2008, IndyMac Bancorp itself filed for bankruptcy. By the time all of these events had completely unfolded, including in particular the many rounds of dismissal motion rulings, the sole remaining defendant in the Tripp litigation was the company's former CEO, Michael Perry.

According to papers filed in the Central District of California this week, Perry has now reached a settlement of the securities suit against him. As reflected in the parties' June 26, 2012 stipulation (here), the parties have agreed to settle the case for a payment of $5.5 million. According to the stipulation, the settlement amount will be entirely funded from "insurance policies providing coverage to former officers and directors of IndyMac for the period March 1, 2007 through March 1, 2008." The settlement is subject to court approval.

The litigation involving IndyMac's former directors and officers includes not only this securities suit, but also a separate securities suit relating to IndyMac's alleged misrepresentations regarding its exposure to Option ARM mortgages. In addition, there are two different FDIC lawsuits against former IndyMac executives. Indeed, the FDIC's first lawsuit against former directors and officers of failed banks filed during the current wave of bank failures was filed against two former IndyMac executives (about which refer here). The FDIC also filed a separate lawsuit against Perry. The FDIC's suit against Perry has been watched closesly as a result of the ruling in the case that Perry, as a former officer, is not entitled to rely on the business judgment rule under California law (the business judgment rule being construed by the district court as protective of directors only, not officers). 

As noted in an accompanying post, as a result of a June 27, 2012 determination in the IndyMac insurance coverage litigation, there is insurance coverage if at all for these various lawsuits under the 2007-2008 insurance program, meaning that the various claimants in the various cases are in competition with each other for the proceeds of the 2007-2008 insurance program.  It is probably fortunate for the claimants in the Tripp litigation that the parties in the Tripp litigation were able to reach a settlement before the June 27 ruling in the insurance coverage litigation, as the competition for insurance under the 2007-2008 program could have even further complication the settlement of the Tripp litigation.

The stipulation provides that insurers from the 2007-2008 insurance program that will be funding this settlement may be required to seek the approval of the bankruptcy court in the IndyMac Bancorp bankruptcy proceedings in order to obtain the bankruptcy court's approval to use the proceeds for the settlement. The stipulation adds that the parties to the settlement "expressly acknowledge and agree that all obligation of the Defendant with respect to the Settlement Amount are subject to the funding of such Settlement Amount by the Insurers," adding that the Defendant "shall under no circumstances have an obligation to fund such amount from personnel assets." The stipulation does provide that if the settlement amount is not paid according to the terms of the stipulation, the settlement is null and void. 

I have in any event added the Perry settlement to my running tally of subprime and credit crisis-related case resolutions, which can be accessed here.

Read other items of interest from the world of directors & officers liability, with occasional commentary, at the D&O Diary, a blog by Kevin LaCroix.

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