Minnesota Supreme Court Denies Wells Fargo's Petition for Review

Minnesota Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Association et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

July 18, 2012

Four nonprofits - Minnesota Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Association, Minnesota Medical Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children - participated in a securities lending program run by Wells Fargo. The bank represented that the collateral in the program would be invested in short-term money market instruments, where the prime considerations would be safety of principal and liquidity. Instead, the bank invested a substantial portion of the collateral in risky and/or illiquid securities, including complex structured investments. The jury found that Wells Fargo breached its fiduciary duty and violated the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act. In post-trial orders, the trial court awarded Plaintiffs attorneys' fees, and costs and disbursements. The trial court also awarded Plaintiffs forfeiture of fees by Wells Fargo and awarded pre-and post-judgment interest. This was the first trial and recovery of this type in the country. On April 16, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its opinion affirming the trial court. On June 27, 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied Wells Fargo's petition for review. The final judgment, plus additional post-trial attorneys' fees paid by Wells Fargo, totaled more than $57 million.

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