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Moreno v. Deutsche Bank Ams. Holding Corp.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

September 5, 2017, Decided; September 5, 2017, Filed

15 Civ. 9936 (LGS)

Opinion

OPINION AND ORDER

LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, District Judge:

Plaintiffs1 bring this putative class action, alleging Defendants,2 fiduciaries of the Deutsche Bank Matched Savings Plan (the "Plan"), mismanaged the Plan in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs move to certify a class with respect to their claims asserted on behalf of the Plan. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Familiarity with the procedural history and underlying allegations is assumed. See Moreno v. Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp., No. 15 Civ. 9936, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142601, 2016 WL 5957307, at *1-3 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 13, 2016).

A. The Plan

The Plan is a defined contribution plan, or 401(k) plan, for eligible employees of Defendant Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. ("DBAHC") and its affiliates. The Plan entitles eligible employees to contribute a certain portion of their earnings into individual investment accounts. Plaintiffs are five current or former participants in the Plan.

From December 2009 through today, the Plan has offered its roughly 22,000 participants a menu of around 20 to 30 "core investment options." The [*3]  Plan has also offered a "mutual fund window," i.e., a self-directed brokerage account ("SDBA"), which gives participants access to thousands of mutual funds, as well as stocks and bonds. Only a small percentage of participants have invested through the SDBA, which is designed for sophisticated investors.

DBAHC is the Plan sponsor. It manages the Plan through, among others, a Plan Administrator, Defendant the Deutsche Bank Matched Savings Plan Investment Committee ("Investment Committee") and Defendant the Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. Executive Committee ("Executive Committee"). The Investment Committee3 sets the menu of core investment options and recommends investment policies to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee4 appoints members to the Investment Committee and evaluates its performance. These Committees are comprised exclusively of DBAHC managers or executives. The Plan Administrator, who has been Defendant Richard O'Connell since 2011, has the day-to-day responsibility for the Plan's operations and administration.

B. Defendants' Alleged Mismanagement of the Plan

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2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143208 *; 2017 WL 3868803

RAMON MORENO, et al., Plaintiffs, -against- DEUTSCHE BANK AMERICAS HOLDING CORP., et al., Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, Petition denied by Deutsche Bank Ams. Holding Corp. v. Moreno, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26653 (2d Cir., Dec. 19, 2017)

Prior History: Moreno v. Deutsche Bank Ams. Holding Corp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142601 (S.D.N.Y., Oct. 13, 2016)

CORE TERMS

funds, class member, proprietary, Defendants', fiduciary, class certification, class action, quotation, marks, invested, options, mutual fund, adjudications, appointed, damages, parties, individual account, named plaintiff, recordkeeping, commonality, proposed class, non-proprietary, certification, questions, breaches, expenses, monetary, alleges, courts, losses

Pensions & Benefits Law, Civil Litigation, Causes of Action, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Civil Procedure, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Derivative Actions, Prerequisites for Class Action, Adequacy of Representation, Certification of Classes, Numerosity, Commonality, Typicality, Prerequisites for Class Action, ERISA, Class Actions, Class Members, Remedies, Damages, Statute of Limitations, Class Members, Named Members, Preliminary Considerations, Justiciability, Standing, Standing, Burdens of Proof, Class Attorneys, Appointments