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Over the last few days, there have been a series of rulings in high-profile lawsuits arising out of the subprime meltdown and credit crisis. As discussed below, just in the past week there were dismissal motion rulings in cases involving Freddie Mac, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, and AIG. Though some or all of the claims in these cases were dismissed in whole or in part, the plaintiffs have managed to live at least for another day (if only just barely in the Freddie Mac case). At the same time, in the AIG ERISA case, the case largely survived the dismissal motion.
Freddie Mac: On March 30, 2011, Southern District of New York Judge John Keenan granted without prejudice the defendants' motion to dismiss in the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) subprime-related securities class action lawsuit. A copy of the March 30 order can be found here.
Freddie Mac is of course one of the government sponsored entities that was at the center of the residential mortgage crisis in 2008. On September 7, 2008, it was placed in the hands of a conservator. In August 2008, shortly before the company entered conservatorship, the company's public shareholders filed a securities class action lawsuit against the company and certain of its directors and officers, as discussed in greater detail here.
The plaintiffs alleged that in various public statements the defendants had made three types of misrepresentations or omissions: (1) about the company's exposure to "non-prime mortgage loans"; (2) about its capital adequacy; and (3) about the strength of its due diligence and quality control mechanisms. The defendants moved to dismiss.
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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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