In the face of turmoil and uncertainty, the world's major financial institutions continue to choose our team to help them manage their business, litigation and reputational risks and thrive in the new economic and regulatory climate. To our clients we are much more than litigators - we are business partners who have a stake in their success.
- Paul, Weiss lawyers have represented leading financial companies in groundbreaking disputes in every forum. Recent client work has included:
- Banc One in the successful resolution of class action and derivative lawsuits filed around the U.S. alleging market timing and late trading arising out of investigations conducted by the SEC and the New York State Attorney General.
- Bank of America in litigation and the settlement of claims by the SEC in connection with the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. in 2008. When the bank's SEC settlement alleging misrepresentations and omissions in the proxy statement issued in connection with the acquisition was blocked by U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff, Paul, Weiss was hired to negotiate a new settlement that would be approved by Judge Rakoff. We were able to secure district court approval of the settlement.
- Citigroup in achieving a complete victory in a multibillion dollar lawsuit brought by the London-based private equity firm Terra Firma. Terra Firma, and its Chairman Guy Hands, claimed they were defrauded in connection with the purchase of the music company EMI in 2007. Terra Firma asserted claims totaling $8 billion, one of the largest claims ever made against Citigroup. Paul, Weiss prepared the case for trial in just 10 months and tried it before a New York jury. The jury deliberated for less than five hours before returning a verdict vindicating Citigroup in all respects.
- We also represented Citigroup:
- against a $2.2 billion claim by Parmalat (reduced from more than $30 billion in damages on our successful summary judgment motion) for aiding and abetting the company's directors' breach of fiduciary duty in stealing billions from the company. After a five-month trial, the jury found that Citigroup was not liable and returned a verdict worth more than $430 million (including interest) on Citigroup's counterclaims. This was one of the highest-value jury verdicts in the United States in 2008.
- and its directors and officers in securing the dismissal of a derivative claim seeking to hold defendants liable for Citigroup's subprime losses. The decision, which was covered extensively in The New York Times and other media, was the first to address director liability for subprime losses under Delaware law and was described as a "monumental victory" for corporate directors.
- in the settlement of the SEC's investigation into the company's alleged subprime disclosure violations, and in the settlement of the SEC's investigation into the company's alleged CDO sales practices violations.
- in connection with the investigation by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission into the causes of the financial crisis.
- in ERISA litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The three-judge panel overturned an earlier decision granting partial summary judgment to five former Citigroup employees bringing ERISA claims in connection with the company's cash balance plan. The panel further ruled that Citigroup's plan does not violate ERISA's minimum benefit accrual rules or notice requirements.
- in a class action litigation relating to disclosure of subprime losses, sales of auction rate securities, failed alternative investments, a municipal public nuisance claim relating to securitization of mortgages, and underwriting of securities of American Home Mortgage and Ambac.
- Deutsche Bank AG in the global resolution of a multi-year investigation by the IRS and DOJ into the execution of tax shelter transactions for high net-worth individuals. The investigation concluded in 2010, when Deutsche Bank and the government agencies signed a settlement for $533 million, a fraction of the sums at issue and considerably less than the government originally demanded. The settlement included a non-prosecution agreement such that no criminal charges will be filed.
- ING and its insurance subsidiaries against a Title VII employee class action complaint that alleges that ING discriminated against African-American workers in promotion practice, pay levels and hiring policies. We are also representing ING in a threatened $250 million purchase price adjustment claim arising out of the sale of one of ING's subsidiaries.
- JPMorgan Chase in numerous regulatory and civil cases brought by shareholders of Bear Stearns following the near collapse of the investment bank in March 2008. The derivative, securities and ERISA actions were dismissed by the district court. We also represent JPMorgan Chase in matters relating to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, charged by Congress to investigate the financial crisis, as well as in several other commercial matters.
- Mastercard over the past decade in a series of government and private antitrust actions, including:
- the successful motion to dismiss a consolidated putative class action brought by ATM operators and consumers claiming that certain rules regarding ATM access fees illegally restrained trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act;
- obtaining dismissals of numerous separate state indirect purchaser suits brought by consumers;
- reaching a preliminary settlement of consolidated claims brought by a putative class of every merchant in the United States that accepts Mastercard and Visa payment cards, as well as related individual actions by large merchants and merchant trade associations; and
- obtaining a significant settlement with the DOJ after a nearly two-year investigation into certain Mastercard merchant acceptance rules; and in connection with merchants' attacks on Mastercard practices that resulted in a consent decree with the DOJ requiring only minimal modification of Mastercard's rules.
- Morgan Stanley in the successful resolution of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) disciplinary proceeding and a putative class action concerning the firm's failure to produce e-mails in certain arbitrations and investigations owing to a mistaken belief that the e-mails had been destroyed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In the FINRA proceeding, we were able to settle the matter on favorable terms. In the putative class action concerning the same underlying issue, we won dismissal of the complaint and a denial of plaintiffs' request for leave to amend and are currently handling the matter on appeal.
- We also represented two Morgan Stanley mutual funds and their underwriters, advisers and distributors, in obtaining the dismissal of two class actions alleging that the funds were required to disclose information regarding alleged misconduct by investment banking and broker-dealer affiliates of the fund's investment adviser. In February 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the class actions. In January 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, declining to expand liability under the Securities Act of 1933 to require funds to disclose information about affiliates.
- BB&T in auction rate securities litigation brought by Dow Corning in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Dow Corning alleged that BB&T misrepresented the risks and liquidity of auction rate securities and was seeking the rescission of its investment as well as damages.
- Swiss Reinsurance Company, its chief financial officer and former chief executive officer in obtaining the dismissal, with prejudice, of a securities class action pending against them. The lawsuit was triggered by Swiss Re's write-down of CHF 1.2 billion on two credit default swaps the company had sold, which protected portfolios purportedly consisting largely of mortgage-backed securities, including subprime securities. The opinion adopted, among other arguments, Paul, Weiss's novel argument on the scope of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank. The court's ruling on the Morrison issue has been cited in numerous other cases.
- UBS AG in its settlement with the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, the SEC, the Internal Revenue Service and a group of 25 state attorneys general of investigations into the firm's former municipal reinvestment and derivatives group.
- Wall Street Underwriting Syndicates before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in various putative class action litigations arising out of the issuance of $25 billion of General Motors and GMAC bond offerings. We persuaded plaintiffs to dismiss the underwriters from the case without prejudice.