Earlier this month, Countrywide and Bank of America very, very quietly settled securities fraud suits brought by five major investors in mortgage-backed securities: the Irish company Sealink, which holds the mortgage-backed assets of the German bank Sachsen; the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia; the German regional banks Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bayerische Landesbank; and the Minnesota financial services company Thrivent. Combined, the investors had brought claims for hundreds of millions of dollars for Countrywide’s alleged deceptions about the quality of the mortgages underlying the securities they bought.
If you’re wondering what these particular investors, who brought claims in four different suits, have in common, it’s this: All of them are represented by Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, which, as you know, has played a leading role in MBS litigation.
Technically, the dockets in the four cases, which are all part of the Countrywide multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer, don’t indicate that the suits were settled. They ju s t reflect that on Oct. 19, Pfaelzer granted joint motions for dismissal of the cases with prejudice. In this circumstance, however, that’s a sure sign of settlement. (A BofA representative didn’t respond to my email request for comment; Bernstein partner Timothy DeLange declined to comment.)