Investor Litigation Remains Elevated

Mortgage News

Mortgage Daily Staff

                                                 May 1, 2009

While new class action filings show no signs of relenting, some are beginning to settle, be dismissed or drop defendants.

Regions Financing Trust III preferred shareholders have filed a class action in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Regions Financial Corp., according to an April 21 announcement from the law firm of Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check LLP. Regions is accused of improperly accounting for goodwill, assets and loan-loss provisions. It also allegedly overstated its internal financial controls and its capitalization.

Investors class actions are based on alleged violations of the Securities Act of 1933.

Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP recently announced it is also suing Regions in another lawsuit that was also filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Prudential Financial Inc. faces a class action filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, an April 17 news release from Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check LLP said. Alleged misrepresentations occurred beginning in June 2008.

In Kansas City, Mo., lawyers representing shareholders of NovaStar Financial are seeking federal court for approval of a $7 million cash settlement in a class action lawsuit. Several shareholders began filing suits in 2004 against the former subprime lender. They alleged the company failed to disclose its financial problems and made untrue statements to inflate its share price. Once the dirty laundry was reportedly aired — the company’s stock took a dive.

In the suit — filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri — NovaStar has admitted no wrongdoing. The company agreed to the settlement late last year.

Centerline Holding Co. announced on April 17 that it had reached a preliminary settlement of claims in the derivative litigation that was pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The agreement calls for the dividend rate on convertible preferred stock issued by Centerline to an affiliate of The Related Companies LP in January 2008 to be reduced from 11 percent to 9.5 percent. In addition, the conversion price will be increased from $10.75 to $12.35.

A class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System and similarly situated purchasers of Wells Fargo Asset Securities Corporation Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP announced last month. Investors were allegedly misled about loan quaility by statements and other materials issued between July 2005 and September 2006. At issue are underwriting and appraisal standards, loan-to-value ratios and credit enhancement.

“Wells Fargo, certain of its officers and directors and the issuers and underwriters of the certificates violated Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933,” the New York law firm said in the statement. “Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of the certificates issued.”

The American Lawyer recently reported that a federal class action lawsuit against Radian was dismissed. The plaintiffs claim Radian should have come clean sooner on its losses in Credit-Based Asset Servicing and Securitization — or C-BASS. But the judge ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove “scienter.”

A federal judge in a shareholder lawsuit against former Countrywide Financial Corp. executives has thrown out claims against former Chief Operating Officer Stanford Kurland and other defendants, the Associated Press reported. But allegations were allowed to continue against Countrywide founder and former chairman and chief executive officer Angelo Mozilo because modifications to his stock plan were unusual.

WILLIAM SMITH, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, vs. REGIONS FINANCIAL CORPORATION, REGIONS FINANCING TRUST III, C. DOWD RITTER, SAMUEL W. BARTHOLOMEW, JR., GEORGE W. BRYAN, DAVID J. COOPER, EARNEST W. DEAVENPORT, JR., DON DEFOSSET, JAMES R. MALONE, SUSAN W. MATLOCK, CHARLES D. MCCRARY, CLAUDE B. NIELSEN, JORGE M. PEREZ, LEE J. STYSLINGER, III, SPENCE L. WILSON, JOHN R. ROBERTS, UBS SECURITIES LLC, CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC., MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED, WACHOVIA CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC, MORGAN STANLEY & CO. INCORPORATED, MORGAN KEEGAN & COMPANY, INC. and ERNST & YOUNG LLP, Defendants.
April 21, 2009 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York).

Alfred Fait, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, vs. REGIONS FINANCIAL CORPORATION, REGIONS FINANCING TRUST III, C. DOWD RITTER, SAMUEL W. BARTHOLOMEW, JR., GEORGE W. BRYAN, DAVID J. COOPER, EARNEST W. DEAVENPORT, JR., DON DEFOSSET, JAMES R. MALONE, SUSAN W. MATLOCK, CHARLES D. MCCRARY, CLAUDE B. NIELSEN, JORGE M. PEREZ, LEE J. STYSLINGER, III, SPENCE L. WILSON, JOHN R. ROBERTS, UBS SECURITIES LLC, CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC., MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED, WACHOVIA CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC, MORGAN STANLEY & CO. INCORPORATED, MORGAN KEEGAN & COMPANY, INC. and ERNST & YOUNG LLP, Defendants.
April 2009 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York).

NOAH HADDOCK, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, vs. PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, INC., ARTHUR F. RYAN, RICHARD J. CARBONE, PETER B. SAYRE, DENNIS G. SULLIVAN, FREDERIC K. BECKER, GORDON M. BETHUNE, W. GASTON CAPERTON, III, GILBERT F. CASELLAS, JAMES G. CULLEN, WILLIAM H. GRAY, III, JON F. HANSON, CONSTANCE J. HORNER, KARL L. KRAPEK, JAMES A. UNRUH, CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC., MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED, MORGAN STANLEY & CO. INCORPORATED, UBS SECURITIES LLC, WACHOVIA CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC, BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES LLC, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS CORPORATION, J.P. MORGAN SECURITIES INC. and PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS, LLP, Defendants.
April 14, 2009 (U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey).

Tice v. Novastar Financial, Inc et al.
4:04cv330, April 14, 2004 (US Consolidated Court for the Western District of Missouri, Kansas City).

Carfagno v. Schnitzer.
08 Civ. 912 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y.).

New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, v. Wells Fargo Asset Securities Corporations, et al, Defendants.
CV 09 1620, April 13, 2009 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California).

Mortgage Daily Staff

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