Cases

In re Washington Mutual, Inc., Securities Litigation

Court: United States District Court, Western District of Washington
Case Number: 07-cv-1809
Judge: Hon. Marsha J. Pechman
Case Contacts: Hannah Ross, Timothy A. DeLange, Katherine M. Sinderson

Securities class action filed on behalf of investors in Washington Mutual, Inc. ("Washington Mutual" or the "Company") against the Company, certain of its directors and executive officers, its auditor Deloitte & Touche LLP ("Deloitte"), and several major financial institutions (the "Underwriters") that underwrote the Company's securities offerings during the Class Period.

In 2011, Plaintiffs achieved three settlements with defendants in this securities class action litigation totaling $208.5 million:  (i) a $105 million settlement with certain former officers and directors of Washington Mutual, and Washington Mutual; (ii) an $85 million settlement with certain underwriters of Washington Mutual’s securities offerings; and (iii) an $18.5 million with Deloitte.  The Court approved those settlements in November 2011.

On October 25, 2013, pursuant to the Order Approving Distribution Plan (the “Distribution Order”), payments were made to all Authorized Claimants who were eligible to receive a payment of at least $20.00 from the distribution.  Pursuant to the Distribution Order, Authorized Claimants whose distribution amounts were less than the $20.00 minimum threshold did not receive a payment.

UPDATE:  Proposed Settlement of Class Claim Filed in the SIPA Liquidation of Lehman Brothers Inc.

In March 2015, an additional proposed settlement was reached with the trustee for the liquidation of Lehman Brothers Inc. (“Lehman”) under the Securities Investors Protection Act of 1970 (“SIPA”) that provides for the resolution of the Class Claim filed by Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and the Class in Lehman’s SIPA liquidation proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court (the “Settlement”). 

If this Settlement is approved by the Court, it will result in the allowance of a general, unsecured creditor claim against Lehman’s estate in the SIPA liquidation proceeding in the amount of $16,500,000 (the “Allowed Class Claim”).  The amount that will ultimately be recovered from Lehman’s estate with respect to the Allowed Class Claim is currently unknown but is estimated that it will potentially be 50% of the value of the Allowed Class Claim, or approximately $8,250,000.  This estimate is based on the amount of the distributions made to date in the SIPA Proceeding and the estimated potential amount of all future distributions. 

If the Settlement is approved by the Court, the amount recovered, less Court-approved fees and expenses, will be allocated among eligible Authorized Claimants.  Please note: only those Authorized Claimants (i) who purchased Floating Rate Notes, 7.250% Notes and/or Series R Stock during the Class Period; (ii) whose claim calculated to a Securities Act Loss under the Court-approved Plan of Allocation; (iii) who received a distribution with respect to that loss; and (iv) who cashed their distribution checks will be eligible to share in the funds obtained through the Settlement.

You do not need to submit a Claim Form or take any other action to be eligible to receive funds obtained through the proposed Settlement.  If the Settlement is approved, funds received in connection with the Allowed Class Claim will be distributed to eligible Authorized Claimants together with future distributions of the net settlement funds from the previously achieved settlements.

On June 19, 2015, the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman preliminarily approved the proposed Settlement and scheduled a Settlement Hearing for January 15, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. at the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, United States Courthouse, 700 Stewart Street, Courtroom 14206, Seattle, WA 98101.  At the Settlement Hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and should be approved, and whether a motion by Lead Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses should be approved.

Please review the full Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Claim Filed in the SIPA Liquidation of Lehman Brothers Inc. which provides more details about the proposed Settlement.  Any Class Member who wishes to object to the proposed Settlement or Lead Counsel’s motion for fees and expenses, must file the objection with the Court and deliver it to Lead Counsel and counsel for the SIPA Trustee so that it is received no later than December 26, 2015, in accordance with the instructions set forth in the Notice.

For more information about the proposed Settlement or the previously approved settlements, please visit www.WashingtonMutualSecuritiesLitigationSettlement.com.

Background

Until it was forced to declare bankruptcy on September 26, 2008 after its banking subsidiary was seized by federal regulators, Washington Mutual was one of the nation's largest originators and servicers of residential mortgages.  The Company had long represented itself to be a traditional low-risk depository institution and mortgage lender. In reality, in recent times and particularly in 2006 and 2007, it is alleged that Washington Mutual increasingly focused on high-risk and experimental mortgage products, while secretly abandoning proper standards of managing, conducting and accounting for its business.  For example, as alleged in a recent complaint filed by the Attorney General of the State of New York concerning First American Corporation's eAppraiseIT subsidiary, Washington Mutual elicited fraudulent appraisals from eAppraiseIT in order to increase its loan volume and further grow its mortgage lending business.  As alleged, this wrongful practice, among others, including the improper accounting for the Company's mortgage loans and deficient internal controls, caused the Company to defraud the investing public by issuing false and misleading financial statements and misrepresenting the nature of the Company's lending business.

In 2006 and 2007, with the direct participation of the Underwriters and Deloitte, the Company was able to raise nearly $5 billion through four securities offerings.  Each participant in Washington Mutual's securities offerings, including the Underwriters and Deloitte, were obligated by law to ensure that the statements made to investors in the offering materials were not false.  However, in offering these securities, neither the Company, its officers, its Board of Directors, Deloitte, nor the Underwriters disclosed the hidden weaknesses in the Company's lending practices and accounting policies.  Rather, as alleged in the Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, each of those securities offerings incorporated materially untrue information about the Company.

Ultimately, the Company's misconduct began to come to light in late 2007, when in a series of disclosures Washington Mutual announced a shocking 72% decline in the Company's earnings and the need to set aside more than $2 billion additional funds to cover expected loan losses.  Upon the disclosure of this news and other revelations about Washington Mutual's improper lending practices, the Company's stock price and the value of the securities made pursuant to the Company's offerings plummeted, and Washington Mutual's investors suffered billions of dollars of losses.