Alison Frankel: Is JPMorgan going to push the WaMu MBS class action to trial?

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Alison Frankel: Is JPMorgan going to push the WaMu MBS class action to trial?

Alison Frankel: Is JPMorgan going to push the WaMu MBS class action to trial?

Reuters-

This week, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a class action over Washington Mutual mortgage-backed securities, clearing the way for a trial on Sept. 17. Plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Toll of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, who says damages could be as high as $550 million, insists that the trial will go ahead. “All efforts to resolve the case have been unsuccessful so far,” he said. “If any case is likely to go to trial, this is it.”

Despite what Toll says, that seems unlikely, given how rarely securities fraud cases go to trial. The short history of MBS class action settlements suggests that JPMorgan, which now owns the WaMu entities that issued the mortgage-backed notes, could get out of the case for much less than the damages the investors are seeking. In their settlements, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynchhave paid between $2.70 and $12.80 per initial $1,000 in certificate value. We will find out whether an MBS class action Goldman Sachs agreed to settle on July 18 falls into that range when terms become public next Wednesday.

[REUTERS ON THE CASE]

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