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Representing Pension Funds, Other Managed Funds, and Government Agencies as Plaintiffs

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Quinn Emanuel has vast experience representing pension funds, other managed funds, and government agencies as plaintiffs in high-stakes disputes filed in the United States and abroad.  There are several attributes that set us apart from other firms in this area.

Unique Resources and Experience.  Our firm brings a commitment of resources and depth of experience that no other firm can provide.  We have more than 800 lawyers and over 25 partners who are former prosecutors and high level government lawyers.  As a result, our lawyers are keenly attuned to the sensitivities and needs of public pension funds, government agencies, and other managed funds.

Rare Insight into the Other Side.  Quinn Emanuel is also unique in that we represent both plaintiffs and defendants in different cases.  This gives us rare insight into the thinking of the parties and lawyers on the other side.  It also helps bring a level of credibility to our representation of pension funds and other funds when acting as plaintiffs that no other firm can provide.    

Balanced Advice Combined with Unparalleled Trial Experience.  We also bring unique credibility to our representation of pension funds and other funds when acting as plaintiffs because we do not encourage our clients to file every possible case.  Instead, we give balanced advice, including when appropriate, the advice that a case is not worth pursuing.  When we do advise clients to file litigation, we do not push our clients to take a cheap settlement.  Rather, we work to maximize the value of cases, including by trying them when necessary.  Our lawyers have conducted over 2,500 trials and arbitrations – including a significant number on behalf of funds and government entities – and won over 86% of them.  Thus, when we serve as counsel to a pension fund or other managed fund, the message is clear that we will try the case if necessary and that the lawyering will be of the highest caliber.

International Litigation Capabilities Unmatched by Any Other Firm.  We are alone among firms representing pension funds and other managed funds in that our firm includes major offices in key jurisdictions overseas that are staffed by local lawyers who are admitted to practice law in those jurisdictions.  For instance, we have major offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia (among other countries) each of which represents clients in significant litigation matters in those jurisdictions, including on behalf of pension funds and other managed fund clients.  Other U.S. firms representing pension funds lack this capability.  As a result, the best they can do is to introduce their pension fund clients to non-U.S. local firms.  We represent clients in these multi-jurisdictional matters with Quinn Emanuel partners and associates who are trained and reside in those jurisdictions.  Thus, we provide a level of client responsiveness – including for overseas litigation – that no other firm can provide.

Unique Breadth of Experience and Creativity on Behalf of Pension Funds and Other Clients.  Our firm developed unique litigation theories and winning arguments that helped recover tens of billions of dollars on behalf of our clients related to residential mortgage-backed securities and other structured financial products, including collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, structured currency derivatives, structured notes, equity derivatives, and other more exotic derivatives.  We develop cases from the ground up with input from experts – cases no one else has thought to pursue.  We have a track record of recovering massive sums for our clients as a result of our creative and aggressive approach.  For example, our firm developed a case about manipulation in the credit default swaps (CDS) markets that resulted in a recovery of $1.87 billion for pension funds and other investors.  We are regularly evaluating and developing new cases for pension funds and other managed funds. 

Unrivaled Track Record Leading Significant Cases.  We have been appointed lead counsel in virtually every major financial manipulation case in recent years – including for each of the class actions related to manipulation in the CDS markets, ISDAfix, gold benchmark pricing, interest rate swaps, and sub-sovereign and agency (“SSA”) bonds.  Our track record leads to opportunities for our clients to serve as lead plaintiffs if that is their preference.  We also have a successful “opt out” practice for clients who prefer not to serve in a class leadership role or otherwise be part of a class action.  We know from experience how to maximize recoveries for our clients whether through class or individual actions.

Recent Representations

  • The firm obtained an appellate victory in the Delaware Supreme Court on behalf of the Canadian pension fund OMERS, which represents Ontario’s firemen, paramedics, and other municipal employees.  Together with GIC, the Government of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, OMERS owns 99% of a minority stake in a Texas utility company called Oncor. The remaining 1% of the minority stake was held by a company called Hunt Consolidated, Inc., which sought to sell its interest to Sempra Energy, Oncor’s majority owner.  The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that OMERS had the right to exercise its right of first refusal (“ROFO”) to purchase Hunt’s interest in the OMERS-GIC joint venture.  Sempra and Hunt had initially obtained a favorable ruling in the Delaware Chancery Court; while the Chancery Court is rarely overturned, here the Delaware Supreme Court issued a 5-0 ruling in favor of OMERS.  Quinn Emanuel represented OMERS in both the trial court and Supreme Court proceedings.
  • We obtained final approval for our settlements of over $500 million against the bank defendants in our ISDAfix case, which was brought on behalf of investors such as insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, and other sophisticated actors. The case concerns the rigging of a financial benchmark used to determine the settlement value of certain financial derivatives.  We built the case from the ground-up after noticing anomalies in the data, before the government even acted.  The successful settlement and then certification of the class was the result of years of dogged, groundbreaking work.  We had to find traders explicitly admitting they were interested in manipulating the benchmark.  We then had to match that admission to can actual trade by the right person, at the right time, in the right direction.  We then had to demonstrate we could show that those acts damaged class members, some of whom may have only traded hours or even days later.  The Court said that this was the “the most complicated case” he ever faced, and that he could “not really imagine” how much more complicated “it would have been if I didn’t have counsel who had done as admirable a job in briefing it and arguing it as” we did. 
  • The firm won a major victory for two investment funds, Zohar II 2005-1, Ltd. and Zohar III, Ltd. (the “Zohar Funds”), in a dispute with their former collateral manager, Lynn Tilton.  The immediate dispute concerned ownership and control over three Delaware corporations – FSAR Holdings, Inc., UI Acquisition Holding Co., and Glenoit Universal Ltd. – but has ramifications for dozens of other portfolio companies that are subject to the same dispute.  The Zohar Funds claimed legal and beneficial ownership of the three subject companies, and elected new directors to their boards by written consent.  Tilton refused to recognize the election, claiming that the Zohar Funds were merely record holders of equity in the companies, while she was the true beneficial owner entitled to all rights and privileges of ownership, including the right to elect their directors.  Following a six day trial before the Delaware Court of Chancery, the Court issued a 95-page Memorandum Opinion finding for the Zohar Funds on all counts.  The Court confirmed the Zohar Funds’ appointees as the rightful directors of the subject companies and rejected Tilton’s claim of beneficial ownership of the Defendant Companies as “not credible” and based upon “hindsight observations” the Court characterized as “revisionist.”
  • In a truly historic partnership between a governmental agency and a private firm, we represent the Federal Housing Finance Agency, as Conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in connection with lawsuits related to residential mortgage-backed securities.  We filed fourteen complaints, asserting billions in damages, against most major investment banks.  As widely reported, this is one of the most significant court actions taken by any federal regulator since the advent of the mortgage crisis, and the single largest set of actions ever filed by a governmental entity.  We have now settled eleven of the actions against Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, UBS, Citigroup, First Horizon, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs.  To date, we have recovered nearly $20 billion for FHFA. As part of our representation of FHFA in these matters, we took the case against Nomura through trial and obtained a complete victory.  This resulted in a $800 million judgment against Nomura. 
  • On a confidential basis, we advise and represent a number of State Attorney General Offices and their state pension funds on matters related to securities fraud cases, antitrust litigation, and other potential areas of litigation. We similarly advise a number of sovereign wealth funds on the same confidential basis. 
  • We represented PIMCO, Western Asset Management Co., and dozens of other plaintiffs that hired us on behalf of their funds to pursue federal securities claims arising from the multi-year kickback and bribery at the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (“Petrobras”). After less than a year of litigation, we obtained very favorable confidential settlements for each of our clients as part of $353 million paid by the company.
  • We represent numerous pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private funds, and numerous other sophisticated clients – including California State Teachers’ Retirement System (“CalSTRS”), Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Norges, Vanguard Funds, BlackRock Funds, State Street Corporation, and others – in a collection of securities suits filed by our firm in Germany against Volkswagen related to the scandal arising out of VW’s manipulation of the emissions systems in its vehicles.
  • We were retained shortly before trial to represent the plaintiffs in Vanguard Balanced Index Fund, et al. v. Citigroup, arising from the Enron fraud.  Vanguard was pursuing claims under the Pennsylvania securities laws against Citigroup for its role in creating and selling Enron credit-linked notes issued by Yosemite Securities Trust I.  We were able to settle the case successfully prior to trial, shortly after Vanguard hired us to replace its former counsel.
  • We served as lead counsel for lead plaintiff, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (“LACERA”), a class of investors alleging collusion in the multi-trillion dollar credit default swaps The defendants included twelve Wall Street banks.  Our $1.87 billion recovery was among the top antitrust settlements of all time.  In support of the settlement, the mediator, Judge Weinstein (Ret.), declared that “this was one of the finest examples of efficient and effective lawyering by plaintiffs’ counsel that I have ever witnessed.”  At the final approval hearing, Judge Cote found that the settlement’s timing and size were “attributable in no small measure to the skill of class counsel and the litigation strategy it employed.”
  • One of our partners represented the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCR) and a class of similarly situated investors in the securities lawsuit arising out of the massive fraud at WorldCom. The case went to trial and resulted in a recovery for investors of more than $6.1 billion.
  • We serve as lead counsel in a class action on behalf of pension funds and other investors to recover damages suffered by investors in Interest Rate Swaps (“IRS”) due to a conspiracy to block the emergence of exchange trading of IRS.  Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund is the lead plaintiff. ​The lawsuit is not an outgrowth of prior government investigations; the conduct at issue was instead uncovered by Quinn Emanuel acting as “private attorneys general.”  In appointing us lead counsel, Judge Engelmayer recognized that our efforts in developing the case were “more generative and exceeded the investigative work of the other applicants by an order of magnitude.”  The court issued an order denying in part and granting in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding that the case had pled a plausible conspiracy.  Fact discovery saw over 100 depositions taken, and our motion to certify the class involved extensive expert work by both sides.  One defendant has settled, pending court approval, for $25 million.  The rest of the case remains ongoing.  
  • We represent The City of Philadelphia and The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority in claims arising from major banks’ manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). Defendants are LIBOR panel banks that include Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, RBC, RBS, and UBS.  Plaintiffs have filed complaints alleging that the banks deliberately suppressed LIBOR, thus reducing the value of investments tied to LIBOR, and that this manipulation of LIBOR constituted fraud, breach of contract, and antitrust violations under the Sherman Act.  Our clients’ claims have been upheld in part by the district court, and the plaintiffs’ group, including our firm, also succeeded in persuading the Second Circuit to partially overturn the prior dismissal of the antitrust claims, thus putting the potential for treble damages back on the table. 
  • We also represent the City of Philadelphia and are co-lead counsel in an antitrust class action against major banks that act as re-marketing agents of “VRDOs”– variable rate, tax-exempt bonds.  The complaint alleges that, rather than re-market the bonds at the lowest possible rate, the banks acted jointly to keep rates artificially high.  The complaint was based on an independent investigation led by Quinn Emanuel, which resulted in confidential facts learned from industry insiders and economic analyses showing that VRDO rates were inflated. Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York upheld the antitrust claims in their entirety, and the case is now in discovery.
  • One of our partners represented several public pension funds in a suit against the top executives of UnitedHealth concerning their unlawful backdating of company stock options. This case resulted in a recovery of $920 million from the assets of the individual defendants and those executives were forced to leave the company.  Also, the company agreed to implement a wide-ranging corporate governance program to help prevent future wrongdoing. 
  • In England, we represented a number of large institutional investors, including Prudential, Legal & General, and Aviva, against Royal Bank of Scotland (“RBS”) in a securities action brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act (England's primary securities act).  The suit alleges that RBS issued a materially misleading prospectus related to its 2008 Rights Issue by misrepresenting the underlying strength of the bank. The case was successfully settled.
  • We are co-lead counsel for a class of investors, including numerous pension funds, related to alleged manipulation of the benchmark price for gold known as the “London Gold Fix.” This massive class action pending in the Southern District of New York is brought against a group of banks for their involvement in manipulating the gold market.  The case resulted in $152 million in settlements. 
  • One of our partners represented two prominent S. pension funds in a securities action against Wachovia concerning preferred securities and bonds issued by the bank. This case resulted in a recovery of $627 million for investors.
  • We represented a group of approximately 75 pension funds, investment funds, and other investors that purchased bonds issued by Le Nature’s Inc. at par value. The defendants in that case included Wachovia, Ernst & Young, and BDO Seidman. We obtained substantial settlements for our clients.
  • We have been appointed co-lead counsel and represent plaintiffs Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of Northern Californiaand Iron Workers Pension Plan of Western Pennsylvania in a class action alleging that five of the world’s largest financial institutions conspired to manipulate the multi-trillion dollar market for supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (“SSA”) bonds. Even before discovery began, Plaintiffs had already obtained hundreds of electronic chat transcripts among the conspirators, documents that revealed a blatant conspiracy in the market for SSA bonds.  Rather than competing with each other for the purchase and sale of SSA bonds to investors and to each other, the defendant banks and their traders openly shared their sensitive pricing information, agreed to fix prices at certain levels, and often revealed their customers’ trading histories and quote requests, their positions and trading strategies, and inside information on the pricing and demand for SSA bonds.  Three banks settled (Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC), from which Plaintiffs have collected $95.5 million in settlements.  The rest of the case remains ongoing.  
  • We represented several major institutional investors in connection with approximately $1 billion in claims against a major investment bank relating to an international fund governed by the laws of the Cayman Islands and other laws in jurisdictions around the world where the causes of action accrued.  The claims involved allegations of self-dealing and mismanagement of the Fund, including allegations of improper actions taken in connection with currency hedge trading that caused the Fund to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
  • One of our partners represented prominent United States and Canadian public pension funds as lead plaintiffs related to securities fraud at the Williams Companies. The case resulted in a recovery of $311 million for investors.   
  • We represent the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in a billion dollar international arbitration and related court proceedings against Citigroup, Inc., concerning Citigroup’s wrongful actions in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. 
  • One of our partners represented a large Canadian public pension fund as lead plaintiff in a highly complex securities case regarding allegations of fraud by Washington Mutual. This case resulted in a recovery of $208.5 million on behalf of investors.
  • We represent numerous major asset managers, hedge funds, pension funds, and other institutional investors – over 1,300 entities in total – pursuing claims that multiple banks manipulated FX prices, benchmarks, and bid-ask spreads. Our clients, including Allianz Global Investors, BlackRock, Brevan Howard, and PIMCO, opted out of a related class action, and our investigation allowed them to file their own complaint with more than 90 pages of original allegations, showing how the banks should be liable for a conspiracy much broader than being pursued in the class action.
  • Quinn Emanuel represents several public pension funds (among other entities) as co-lead counsel on behalf of the class who entered into stock loan transactions with six major banks that serve as prime brokers of stock loans. Plaintiffs allege that the six defendants conspired to overcharge investors and wrongfully control the $1.7 trillion stock loan market, obstructing competition that would benefit both stock lenders and borrowers.  Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss in their entirety.  Briefing on our motion to certify the class relied on extensive expert work, and led to a full-day hearing by the court.  One defendant has settled, pending court approval, for $81 million.  The rest of the case remains ongoing. 
  • We represent the Missouri state employee retirement system (MOSERS), a $9 billion pension fund, pursuing claims against a Canadian private equity manager (Catalyst Capital, including claims for breaches of fiduciary duties, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and civil conspiracy.
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