Financial Markets Litigation

With turbulent markets, increasingly complex investment vehicles, and more government regulation, investors and investment institutions have never been more at risk for loss. At Robins Kaplan LLP, we provide strategic advice and representation to both plaintiffs and defendants when investment losses result in litigation.

Our financial markets litigation attorneys understand a wide range of complex investment instruments. We have extensive experience litigating structured finance products, derivatives, and commodities in addition to more traditional securities. We represent numerous entities within the financial sector in multiple causes of action in state and federal courts in individual, class action, and opt-out litigation. We also have extensive experience with FINRA arbitrations.

Plaintiff's Representations

As counsel for plaintiffs, we have had significant successes involving claims that span diverse investment vehicles and financial sectors on behalf of qualified individuals and institutional investors like: 

  • Pension Funds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Insurance Companies
  • Hedge Funds
  • Government Agencies
  • Banks

We understand the specific concerns institutional and individual investors may have about being a plaintiff. We help clients balance ongoing relationships with their responsibilities to pursue legitimate claims.  Because we are regularly adverse to large investment banks and other major financial institutions, we have developed the litigation and financial knowledge needed to understand cases in these market areas.

Defense Representations

As counsel for defendants, we have aggressively defended banks and other financial institutions against investor and class action claims. Clients we have defended include: 

  • Banks in residential mortgage-backed securitizations (RMBS)
  • Fortune 500 companies accused of securities fraud relating to its publicly-traded stock
  • Respondents in FINRA actions

Our experience on both sides of the courtroom means that, no matter the case, we understand the perspective and strategy of our adversaries. Together with our in-house team of financial and economic consultants, we offer clients a well-rounded, quick-response team with the sophistication and real world trial experience required for success in financial markets litigation.

Experience

Working across multiple financial markets, we represent clients in a wide variety of actions, including:

  • ’33 and ’34 Act claims
  • Antitrust Claims
  • Asset Recovery
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Commodities Exchange Act Claims
  • Consumer Protection Claims
  • Fraud and Misrepresentation
  • State Blue Sky Laws

Clients and Industries

We serve investors seeking to recoup losses from non-market causes in a variety of financial sectors, including:

  • Structured financial instruments, including residential mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and other asset backed securities, and structured investment vehicles, and other arbitraged investment vehicles
  • Securities lending programs
  • Derivatives, including various swaps, such as credit default swaps and interest rate swaps, futures, and options
  • Securities, including broker-dealer matters (FINRA), common and preferred equity and fixed income instruments
  • Commodities, including oil, cheese, and precious metals
  • Fraud and whistleblower actions such as investment manager fraud (Madoff, Petters, etc.), and abusive tax shelters

Selected Case Results*

Structured Finance

  • Successful resolution for Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh in multiple actions against rating agencies and securities underwriters for losses caused by fraud and misrepresentation regarding the value of residential mortgage-backed securities.

  • Represented national banking client in an action related to “put back” mortgage claims in residential mortgage-backed securities. The matter settled favorably before trial for an amount similar to our contemplated jury demand.  

  • Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.: Represented four nonprofits in case against bank where the collateral in a securities lending program was to 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. The final judgment, plus additional post-trial attorneys' fees paid by Wells Fargo, totaled more than $57 million. 

  • As class counsel, we successfully resolved claims of 250 injured plaintiffs pursuing claims against major banks, financial institutions and brokerage houses for the loss of U.S. Treasury Bonds which were intended to fund structured settlements to be paid over a twenty-year span.

Derivatives

  • Representing an institutional investor in an individual plaintiff action for losses arising from investment bank manipulation of the Libor.

  • Developed and filed the first class action complaint relating to anticompetitive behavior of large Credit Default Swap dealers in suppressing open exchange trading of Credit Default Swaps.

Securities

  • Representing shareholder investors in a potential antitrust class action that alleges that the largest eight private equity firms have conspired to fix the price of leveraged buyouts of public corporations to the detriment of the shareholders of those public corporations.

  • Represented corporate ERISA plan against investment broker claiming false statements and omissions concerning the level of exposure to subprime loans and the valuation of other assets of an issuer were made in connection with the broker’s recommended purchase of the securities. The arbitration included 20 days of testimony, 13 witnesses and 5 expert witnesses. A settlement was achieved after the arbitration panel announced that it had reached a decision and our client was directed to submit a petition to award attorney fees.

  • In re Workers’ Compensation Refund Litigation: Represented casualty insurers who filed suit in federal court against the State of Minnesota to contest the legislative taking of excess workers compensation reinsurance premium payments. Serving as lead counsel, we obtained a summary judgment ruling on the basis that the action of the Minnesota Legislature violated the contract impairment clause of the Constitution of the United States. 842 F.Supp. 1211 (D.Minn. 1994).  We then obtained an affirmance in the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  46 F.3d 813 (8th Cir. 1995). The prosecution of this case resulted in the refund of $700 million in excess premiums to the insurers.
     
  • Represented casualty insurers against the State of Minnesota and obtained a summary judgment ruling that the excess workers’ compensation reinsurance payments violated the contract impairment clause of the U.S. Constitution, resulting in refund of $700 million.

  • Represented AMEX Mutual Funds for properties improperly appraised with default by bond issuers on the projects. We recovered assets from those involved in the projects, including companies, bond underwriters, trustee banks, and lawyers.

Commodities

  • Representing class members and serving as Co-Lead Counsel in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a class of plaintiffs who traded light sweet crude oil, heating oil, and gasoline futures and options contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (“NYMEX”) at manipulated prices after defendant, Optiver, a global proprietary trading fund, and other related persons, successfully implemented an unlawful trading scheme to manipulate the settlement prices of these three types of futures contracts traded on the NYMEXin violation of federal antitrust law and the Commodity Exchange Act.

  • Representing class members and serving on the Executive Committee in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a proposed class of traders who transacted in West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) crude oil futures and options contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (“NYMEX”) and InterContinental Exchange (“ICE”), alleging that Defendants intentionally and unlawfully manipulated the prices of WTI crude oil futures and options contracts in violation of federal antitrust law and the Commodity Exchange Act.

  • Representing class members and serving on the Executive Committee in the lawsuit filed on behalf of a proposed class of traders who purchased long positions in cotton futures contracts traded on ICE.   The complaint alleges that Defendants intentionally and unlawfully engaged in an upward manipulation of the prices of ICE cotton futures contracts in violation of federal antitrust law and the Commodity Exchange Act.

  • Represented an investor in the milk futures market for losses related to manipulation of the cheese market.  Settled the case on a confidential basis after defeating motion for summary judgment.

Fraud/Asset Recovery

  • Representing investment firms in an accounting and legal malpractice case related to a private-equity investment in a communications company. 

  • Representing investors against claw-back claims by the Trustees investigating the Ponzi schemes operated by Madoff and Petters.
     
  • Investigating and preparing a disclosure to be made under the IRS whistleblower statute related to five private foundations including various transactions among disqualified individuals and involving potential self-dealing.

* Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation we practice. They do not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case, as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.

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