Bernstein Liebhard has successfully represented public pension funds, institutional investors and individual investors in hundreds of securities class actions. The firm has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of its clients and the classes it has represented and has served as both sole lead counsel and co-lead counsel in some of the largest securities class action cases. The following cases are among Bernstein Liebhard’s most notable cases:
IPO Securities Litigation
$586 Million Recovery for Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as chair of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the In re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, No. 21-MC-92 (S.D.N.Y) (the “IPO Litigation”), a consolidated action consisting of over 300 coordinated actions, involving over 60 law firms representing plaintiffs – the largest group of plaintiffs’ counsel ever assembled in a consolidated securities litigation.
The IPO Litigation consisted of more than 300 coordinated actions involving issuers that were brought public between 1998 and 2000. The defendants included the companies that were brought public, certain of their officers and directors, and 55 of the investment banks that underwrote the IPOs and various follow-on offerings. These enormously complex lawsuits alleged that the IPO offerings were manipulated by the issuers, their officers and directors, and investment banks to artificially inflate the market price of those securities and to reap excessive compensation, and that their conduct was concealed from the public, in violation of the federal securities laws.
After eight years of hard fought litigation the action, Bernstein Liebhard and its co-counsel, recovered $586 million for investors.
In re Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc. Securities Litigation
$400 Million Recovery for Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as co-lead counsel representing the State of New Jersey, Department of Treasury, Division of Investment in this securities class action litigation, which settled for $400 million. The action was brought against the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., arising from the company’s improper practice of steering its clients to insurance companies that agreed to pay the broker billions of dollars in contingent commissions.
While Marsh agreed to pay $850 million in damages in restitution to its clients – the insurance purchasers who were victimized by the scheme – no part of the fund was to be used to compensate the purchasers of Marsh securities who purchased their shares at artificially inflated prices due to defendants’ wrongful conduct. Bernstein Liebhard, with its co-counsel, successfully recovered $400 million on behalf of Marsh investors.
In re Royal Dutch/Shell Transport Securities Litigation
$166 Million Recovery for U.S. Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as sole lead counsel representing lead plaintiffs the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System and the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System. The case arose from Royal Dutch/Shell’s 2004 announcements that it had overstated its proven oil and gas reserves by a material amount – about one-third of its proven reserves. After four years of litigation, including extensive document, deposition and expert discovery, the firm successfully negotiated a settlement after multiple mediation sessions, resulting in a $166.6 million settlement for U.S. investors. The firm was also a substantial factor in bringing about a $350 million European settlement.
In re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation
$153 Million Recovery for Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as co-lead counsel, representing lead plaintiffs the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. The complaint alleged that Fannie Mae and its three most senior corporate officers intentionally and pervasively misapplied U.S. accounting rules and engaged in other misconduct over a four-year period. The $153 million settlement is the largest in D.C. District Court since the passing of the PSLRA.
In re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. Derivative Litigation
$153 Million Dividend for Shareholders and Corporate Governance Reforms
Bernstein Liebhard, representing the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, served as co-lead counsel and obtained a settlement of over $153 million for shareholders, which was the second largest derivative settlement in Delaware Court history. This shareholder derivative action challenged the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Board of Directors’s decision to significantly overpay to acquire McMoRan Exploration Co. and Plains & Production Company. Plaintiffs alleged that the transaction was riddled with sweetheart deals and self-dealing, aimed to personally benefit the Freeport Board of Directors in breach of their fiduciary duties to shareholders. In addition to the monetary recovery, the settlement also provided for significant corporate governance reforms, including: the establishment of a lead independent director, the establishment of an Executive Committee comprised solely of independent directors, enhanced independent director requirements, enhanced director nomination procedures, new policies to ensure any future special committee will be adequately empowered and independent, and limits on future executive compensation and equity vesting provisions.
In re Tremont Securities Law, State Law and Insurance Litigation
$100 Million Recovery for Madoff Investors
Bernstein Liebhard serves as lead counsel in the securities action and co-lead counsel in the consolidated securities law and state law action, representing investors in the Rye Select and Tremont investment funds, which were “feeder funds” into the multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard L. Madoff. Lead plaintiffs alleged that defendants issued false and misleading statements in the funds’ offering documents and other materials. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that defendants misrepresented to investors that Tremont Partners (the funds’ general partner) would and did conduct proper due diligence prior to investing the funds’ assets with Madoff, when in fact no such due diligence took place. Bernstein Liebhard helped negotiate a settlement in excess of $100 million for investors. The distribution of the settlement proceeds and issues surrounding the Madoff Bankruptcy Trustee’s settlement with Tremont shareholders are ongoing.
In re Beacon Associates Litigation and In re J.P. Jeanneret Associates, Inc.
$219 Million Recovered for Madoff Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as Investor Plaintiffs’ Sub-Class Counsel in connection with the resolution of these class actions, as well as several additional lawsuits in federal and New York State court, including suits brought by the United States Department of Labor and the New York Attorney General.
The actions stemmed from the infamous Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and alleged that the defendants failed to conduct adequate due diligence which would have revealed the implausibility of the returns claims by Madoff Securities.
After months of negotiation with the assistance of professional mediators, the parties in all related actions agreed to a settlement that provided $219 million to reimburse defrauded investors. This settlement, combined with money the victims have received from a separate liquidation of Madoff assets, is likely to restore the bulk of the losses to investors.
Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P.
$173.25 Million Recovery for Tenants
Bernstein Liebhard was co-lead counsel, representing thousands of tenants of the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village rental apartment complexes in New York City. Plaintiffs alleged that for years, landlords illegally charged market rate rents for apartments that should have been rent stabilized under New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law, thereby overcharging each affected tenant thousands of dollars per year.
The firm negotiated a successful settlement of the Roberts action, which allocated $68.75 million to the tenant class members who were overcharged and provided approximately $76 million in additional rent savings for those class members overcharged after the New York Court of Appeals issued a favorable ruling for plaintiffs. Class members who were overcharged received 100% of their damages, and potentially up to 110%, while class members who did not overpay received a minimum damages payment. The settlement further ensured that over 4,000 wrongly deregulated apartment units will remain protected by the Rent Stabilization Law for the next seven to nine years.
Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico v. Clearlend Securities f/k/a Wachovia Securities Lending, LLC, Wachovia Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
$50 Million Recovery for New Mexico Public Pension Fund
Bernstein Liebhard represented the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (“PERA”) in an individual securities action against its former securities lending manager Wachovia Global Securities Lending. PERA alleged that Wachovia breached its contractual and fiduciary duties under New Mexico law when it invested cash collateral related to PERA’s securities lending program in notes issued by two foreign structured investment vehicles, or “SIVs” that became insolvent. Eight weeks before trial, Bernstein Liebhard secured a $50 million settlement, representing approximately 65% of PERA’s actual damages.
In re Beazer Homes U.S.A., Inc. Securities Litigation
$30.5 Million Recovery for Investors
Bernstein Liebhard served as co-lead counsel representing the co-lead plaintiffs, the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California and Glickenhaus & Co. in this securities fraud class action arising from the 2008 housing and financial crisis. The plaintiffs alleged that defendants made false and misleading statements concerning Beazer’s loan and mortgage origination practices and reported financial statements. The $30.5 million settlement is significant in that Beazer’s home and mortgage practices had been reported as a major contributor to the 2008 housing and financial crisis. Indeed, Beazer’s then-CEO, Ian McCarthy, was named by Anderson Cooper as one of the “Top 10 Culprits of the Collapse.”
The Altegrity Cases
Bernstein Liebhard represents the creditors’ committee in the Altegrity, Inc. and USIS Investigations, Inc. (“USIS”) bankruptcy proceedings in connection with claims against USIS’s former officers in Corporate Risk Holdings, LLC, as the Plan Administrator v. Mitch Lawrence, Johnny Tharp, and Michael Logan, No. 17-cv-00646 (D. Del.), and a director in Corporate Risk Holdings, LLC, as the Plan Administrator v. Sharon T. Rowlands, No. 17-cv-5225 (S.D.N.Y.), for negligence and breaches of fiduciary duties under Delaware law arising from their alleged failures to adequately protect the confidential information of tens of thousands of government employees from a cyberattack in 2013-2014. The data breach exposed the sensitive and confidential information of over 33,000 actual and potential employees of the U.S. government to malicious state-sponsored hackers, destroyed USIS’s business, forced USIS and its parent company, Altegrity, into bankruptcy and compromised national security. The claims arise under the Delaware Limited Liability Act, as well as Delaware state law.