We are well-known for litigating against major investment and commercial banks on behalf of financial institutions, insurers, and hedge funds. Notably, we have represented several financial institutions in cases concerning the mortgage business and mortgage-backed securities. We have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients across a variety of cases against the major Wall Street banks and other banking institutions.
We have also acted on behalf of banking clients in dozens of matters involving borrower fraud, wrongful foreclosure, challenges to escrow procedures, insurance, real estate, securities, antitrust, and contracts. And we have defended banks and financial institutions in class action lawsuits alleging, for instance, that proxy materials were false and misleading, or that institutions overcharged customers.
We have tried virtually every type of banking dispute, including actions arising out of lender liability, suits by loan participants, letters of credit and other commercial paper, commercial and residential foreclosure actions, and loan fraud.
Our effectiveness on defense and offense, among other things, has again helped us rank first among the firms that major companies want to face least as opposing counsel (BTI Consulting Group, 2022). Our reputation is an advantage in the courtroom and at settlement, because a credible trial threat can hasten a favorable outcome.
- On behalf of Ambac, we settled an action seeking to require Bank of America to repurchase securities backed by mortgage loans issued by Countrywide (which Bank of America now owns). We alleged that more than 80% of the loans failed to meet the standards required by Ambac’s insurance contracts. After five weeks of trial in New York State’s Commercial Division, we obtained a $1.84 billion settlement that caused Ambac’s stock price to rise nearly 25%.
- On behalf of a class of investors, including lead plaintiffs Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association and Salix Capital US Inc., we and co-lead counsel brought suit against various banks for conspiring to prevent the emergence and success of exchanges or other market mechanisms that would have brought efficiency and transparency to the market for Credit Default Swaps (“CDS”). The buyer of a CDS pays the seller a periodic fee, in exchange for the seller’s agreement to pay the buyer if a reference instrument or entity—such as a debt security or its issuer—defaults. CDS can be used to bet against such instruments or to hedge long positions. The main institutional CDS sellers benefited greatly from the opaqueness of the CDS market, which allowed CDS sellers to charge exorbitant prices and make substantial profits. The class asserted antitrust claims and after several years of litigation obtained a total recovery of approximately $1.8 billion.
- We defeated Claimant Russian Banks’ application to amend their particulars of claim to estop our client from contesting findings of a prior arbitral award on grounds of
(i) issue estoppel and (ii) abuse of process.
- We represent the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in a claim commenced before the English Court to recover losses suffered by a number of closed US banks and thrifts as a result of the alleged suppression of USD LIBOR by a number of UK and European LIBOR Panel Banks. The FDIC recently won the right to pause what remains of the action to pursue claims in federal court in New York.
- We obtained unanimous affirmance in the Second Circuit of dismissal of a potential $2.5 billion claim against AIG in a major False Claims Act. A whistleblower alleged that AIG defrauded the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to the tune of hundreds of millions during the financial crisis—specifically that two subsidiaries that AIG sold to the Federal Reserve in exchange for $25 billion in debt reduction had, for decades, conducted an unlicensed insurance business in New York, and that AIG was complicit in the illegal activity, concealed it from regulators, and misled the Fed.
- We obtained final approval for over $500 million in settlements with banking defendants accused of manipulating the “ISDAfix” global benchmark rate, which is used in the global interest rate swaps and derivatives market. Our clients included insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, and other sophisticated actors. The Court said that this was “the most complicated case” he ever faced, and that he could “not really imagine” how much more complicated “it would have been if I didn’t have counsel who had done as admirable a job in briefing it and arguing it as” we did.
- We served as co-lead class counsel on behalf of investors who were harmed when several banks conspired to manipulate the market for gold and gold-related investments traded on COMEX and other exchanges. Defendants include the panel banks that make up the “London Gold Fixing,” a daily process that was supposed to involve a competitive auction among the panel banks, but instead served as a platform for price-fixing. In August 2022 the Southern District of New York issued final approval of our proposed settlements, bringing the total case recoveries to $152 million.
- We achieved complete victory for GSO Credit Partners and Canyon Partners in the Financial List of the English High Court. The dispute arose out of an agreement by our clients to acquire (by way of back-to-back trades) a position held by HCC International Insurance Company Plc under a surety bonds facility. Barclays Bank was the intermediary for the purpose of the back-to-back trades, which were entered into under standard Loan Market Association (LMA) documentation. The Court upheld our construction of the LMA terms in the first judgment arising from the recently created Financial List.
- We brought antitrust and unjust enrichment claims on behalf of a class of participants in the stock lending market, including the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System and Torus Capital. Stock lending is essential to support robust and efficient trading in the stock markets; among other things, it permits holders of significant positions to monetize their shares, and enables short selling. Stock lending had been dominated by a handful of prime brokers, including affiliates of Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, who conspired to prevent the emergence of platforms that would make stock lending and borrowing more efficient and transparent—and therefore less expensive—in order to maintain their monopoly and outsized profits. In June 2022, the Magistrate Judge issued a report recommending that our class certification motion be granted.
- We represent numerous major asset managers, hedge funds, pension funds, and other institutional investors—over 1,300 entities in total—pursuing claims that multiple banks colluded to “bang the close” and “take out the filth” in a wide-ranging conspiracy to manipulate FX prices, benchmarks, and bid-ask spreads. Our clients, including Allianz Global Investors, BlackRock, Brevan Howard, CalSTRS, and PIMCO, opted out of a related class action, and our investigation allowed them to file their own complaint, with more than 90 pages of original allegations, showing how the banks should be liable for a conspiracy much broader than alleged in the class action.
- We achieved complete appellate victory for our Spanish construction firm clients Cointer Concessiones and Grupo Azvi in their claims for gross negligence against Scotiabank Capital Markets and The Bank of Nova Scotia relating to a botched financial model that cost our clients tens of millions of dollars. Given the high standard for proving gross negligence, the court dismissed the claim on the pleadings in 2013; we appealed and had the claim reinstated in 2015. Following the completion of fact and expert discovery, the defendants moved for, and the court granted, summary judgment in 2018. We settled the action on favorable terms.
- We initiated a class action to recover damages suffered by investors in interest rate swaps (“IRS”) due to an alleged conspiracy by eleven large Wall Street banks to block the emergence of innovative new IRS trading platforms. The motion for class certification was filed in February 2019, backed by numerous experts who had spent the year (and more) with Quinn Emanuel developing case-specific, data-driven models to show harm could be established with common evidence. Well over 100 depositions were taken during fact discovery. The matter is ongoing.
- We are acting as interim co-lead class counsel in an antitrust action against certain banks who acted as remarketing agents for Variable Rate Demand Obligations (“VRDO”s). These securities are typically issued by municipalities or such public entities as universities and hospitals, and carry interest rates that are reset periodically, allowing their issuers to borrow funds for the long-term at short-term rates. Beginning in late 2015, authorities began investigating the remarketing agent banks who, rather than competing to provide the lowest possible rates to issuers, colluded to keep rates high to the banks’ significant benefit. We are currently seeking class certification.
- We represented Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank AG (“HVB”) in a lawsuit against an investment vehicle that was wrongfully refusing to redeem shares held by HVB, bringing claims for breach of contract that sought approximately $422 million in damages. Together with the filing of the complaint, we obtained an immediate ex parte attachment of all assets owned by defendants in the State of New York (and an order sealing the file). The following day, more than $380 million of defendants’ New York assets were attached. With this leverage, we settled for just over $400 million.
- We obtained directed summary judgment on appeal for Brazilian infrastructure company CCR Rodoanel in a swap dispute against French and Portuguese banks.
- We obtained dismissal on behalf of Saudi interests of proceedings in the English High Court in which Citigroup sought declarations of non-liability against our clients under the 2002 ISDA Master Agreement and Equity Derivates Definitions. The proceedings were, in substance, an attempt to pre-empt U.S. arbitration proceedings worth approximately $350mm brought in New York under the rules of the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
- Distressed debt vulture fund Weston International Capital Ltd made our client, Bank Mutiara, a primary target for more than two years of actions filed all over the world. After Weston obtained multiple judgments in Mauritius and the Southern District of New York, Bank Mutiara retained us. Within three weeks, we convinced Judge Crotty of the Southern District to vacate a previous judgment, and to order Weston to return more than $3.6 million it had obtained from Bank Mutiara’s accounts. When Weston refused, we obtained a stay of all Weston actions against Bank Mutiara filed in New York, and convinced the Court to hold every Weston entity and its principal in contempt, to order Weston to pay QE’s fees, and to issue fines ultimately totaling more than $400 million. When Weston still refused to return the funds, QE obtained transfer of ownership of every Weston entity to Bank Mutiara, an apparently unprecedented order that was upheld in the Second Circuit, effectively ending Weston’s harassment.
- We represented Solus Alternative Asset Management LP against GSO Capital Partners (“GSO”) and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (“Hovnanian”), in a suit arising from GSO’s agreement to lend money to Hovnanian in exchange for Hovnanian agreeing to default on a portion of its debt. Solus alleged violations of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act, and that GSO had tortiously interfered with Solus’ prospective economic advantage. As part of the May 2018 settlement, Hovnanian cured the agreed-upon default, thereby avoiding the threatened credit event.
- We represented Assured Guaranty and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in proceedings commenced by the Reliance Rail Group against Dexia Credit Local and FMS Wertmanagement. Assured are the majority senior bondholders in Reliance Rail, and supported Reliance Rail’s general position that it could effect a $1.9 billion refinancing without bondholders’ consent under the relevant finance documents. Dexia/FMS, as co-bondholders, opposed this position. After an expedited two-day hearing, the Court delivered a judgment that the refinancing could proceed without bondholders’ consent.
- We represent Prudential, the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, Darby Financial Products, Capital Ventures International, and Salix Capital in claims arising from major banks’ manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). Defendants include Bank of America, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, RBC, RBS, and UBS. Our clients’ common law claims were upheld in part by the district court, and the plaintiff group, including our firm, convinced the Second Circuit to partially overturn the prior dismissal of the antitrust claims.
- We obtained, with co-counsel, a settlement of more than $6 billion for the Estate of Washington Mutual, in litigation against JPMorgan Chase, which involved disputes over billions of dollars in structured trust preferred securities.
- We obtained an award of nearly $80 million for Rosen Capital Partners against Merrill Lynch arising from Merrill Lynch’s improper margin calls and prohibitions on trading in the midst of the subprime financial crisis. The Wall Street Journal described the award as one of the largest investor arbitration awards ever issued by a FINRA arbitration panel. The award was collected in full.
- We represented South Tryon in a lawsuit seeking to force the collateral manager of a Triaxx Asset Management CDO to sell over $500 million in defaulted RMBS. South Tryon moved for summary judgment at the outset of the case, arguing that the relevant contract unambiguously required the sale. The District Court ruled in our favor on that motion and ordered the Collateral Manager to liquidate the defaulted collateral. The Second Circuit affirmed the decision in its entirety.
- We represented plaintiff Lansuppe Feeder, LLC in a case involving Lansuppe’s effort to direct the Trustee for a CDO to liquidate the CDO’s collateral and distribute the proceeds. Junior noteholders objected on the grounds that liquidation would violate the Investment Company Act. We obtained a favorable decision on summary judgment directing the Trustee to proceed with the liquidation and distribute the liquidation proceeds to investors, including our client.
- We represented UMB Bank,A., as trustee on behalf of certain noteholders, against Airplanes Limited and Airplanes U.S. Trust that involved a dispute over the improper reserving by Airplanes of $190 million that otherwise would have gone to noteholders. We obtained judgment on the pleadings that the $190 million reserve was improper and in violation of the indenture.
- We represented Union Bank of California in numerous class actions and individual lawsuits in state, federal and bankruptcy courts arising out of the perpetration of a $600 million Ponzi scheme by one of its clients and depositors.
- We represented Hildene Capital Management, LLC and eight other plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged the proposed sale of BankAtlantic, a federal savings bank, to BB&T Corporation. Following a three-day trial, we obtained a permanent injunction on behalf of plaintiffs based on potential adverse effects of the sale.
- We represented AIG Financial Products against ICP Asset Management LLC and other parties, alleging defendants fraudulently shifted losses on over $1 billion in RMBS securities to AIG-FP via sales to certain CDOs on which AIG-FP held the credit risk. After winning the right to amend our complaint we settled on favorable terms.
- We represented home builder TOUSA in connection with a $675 million claim brought by Deutsche Bank based on the default of an off-balance-sheet structured financing used to fund the largest acquisition of home sites in Florida history. We achieved a successful resolution of this matter.