Bear Stearns lawyers at Paul Weiss are slapping them self on the back today after stockholders and pension funds who sued Bear executives for misleading them about the health of the company months before it failed agreed to a cash settlement of only $275 million on Wednesday. The suit’s settlement lead by Michigan’s retirement fund, who lost $61 million in the collapse of Bear’s stock in March 2008, is being hailed as the 5th largest class action suit by bank shareholders. But considering the evidence that has come out in the last for years regarding what Bear executives like Tom Marano and Alan Schwartz knew about the health of the firm in late 07 early 08 while they were pushing shareholders to buy more stock this settlement number and the terms tied to it is a joke!
Beside the fact that the Bear executives named in the suit didn’t have to admit guilt neither do they have to take a hit to their fat wallets. According to a person familiar to the settlement the Directors and Officers Insurance Bear held is picking up the whole damn tab. But even if JP Morgan, Bear’s successor owner, wanted to encourage the insurance company to pass on any settlement payment responsiblity to the likes of Tom Marano, Alan Schwartz, Jimmy Cayne, Sam Molinaro, & Ace Greenberg I’m told they can’t.
“At the time of the Bear Stearns merger with JP Morgan the Bear bylaws were changed so that the Bear executives have indemnification rights from JP Morgan,” says securities attorney Brett Sherman.