Ordinarily, a $32.5 million settlement of a securities class action against Deutsche Bank wouldn’t get much attention. But when the case is based on mortgage-backed securities and it’s only the third known class action resolution, you have to pay heed . In MBS litigation, every new settlement means that damages estimates in hundreds of pending securities cases become a little more reality-based.
The settlement papers filed Monday by the co-lead counsel in the Deutsche Bank case, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd and Labaton Sucharow, indicate that the $32.5 million represents $12.80 for every $1,000 in initial certificate value for the two Deutsche Bank trusts in the case. That may not sound like much, but it’s a lot more than the $2.70 per $1,000 that plaintiffs got in the first MBS class action settlement, a $125 million deal with Wells Fargo last July. In last December’s $315 million settlement with Merrill Lynch, class counsel at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann obtained $19.05 per $1,000 in initial certificate value for plaintiffs. That case, however, was farther along than the Deutsche Bank MBS litigation; at the time of the settlement, U.S. Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff of federal court in Manhattan had already certified a class of Merrill MBS noteholders and had set a pretrial schedule.