Credit Default Swaps Antitrust Litigation
Pearson Warshaw, LLP Announces That District Court Has Granted Final Approval of $1.864 Billion Antitrust Settlement with World’s Largest Banks
Pearson Warshaw, LLP as co-lead counsel for a plaintiff class consisting of institutional investors in the Credit Default Swaps (“CDS”) trading market, is pleased to announce that on April 18, 2016, Judge Denise Cote issued an order granting final approval to a $1.864 billion class action settlement with twelve investment bank dealer defendants (“Dealer Bank Defendants”) and Markit Group (“Markit”) and International Swaps & Derivatives Association (“ISDA”). In addition to the monetary recovery, ISDA also agreed to changes in its licensing procedures that will make it easier for exchanges and other electronic trading platforms to enter the CDS trading market and ensure that class members are represented in ISDA’s decision-making processes. Judge Cote also approved the Plan of Distribution to the Plaintiff Class and awarded Plaintiffs’ counsel attorneys’ fees and costs. The settlements represent one of the largest private antitrust settlements in United States history. Pearson Warshaw, led by partners Clifford Pearson and Bruce Simon and Senior Counsel George Trevor, represented named plaintiff, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (“LACERA”). LACERA has over 160,000 members and retirees with over $48 billion in investment assets.
Members of the Plaintiff Class should note that the deadline for submitting a claim is rapidly approaching. That deadline is May 27, 2016. If you have not submitted a claim and you believe you are a member of the Plaintiff Class, you should act now. Further information about the settlement is available at www.cdsantitrustsettlement.com. You can also contact the claims administrator, the Garden City Group, at [email protected]. Each class member that was identified by the claims administrator should have receive a claim package that included login information to access its individualized claims portal. We estimate that distribution of the settlement proceeds is likely to occur in late 2016.
CDS Antitrust Litigation
Pearson Warshaw, following an exhaustive investigation of the Dealer Bank Defendants’ domination of the market structure for trading CDS, filed a lawsuit against the Dealer Bank Defendants, Markit and ISDA in October of 2013 alleging that their conduct in the trading of CDS violated the United States’ antitrust laws. In December 2013, Judge Cote appointed LACERA as the co-lead plaintiff and Pearson Warshaw as co-lead counsel for the plaintiff class. The firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan was also appointed co-lead counsel. The Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint (the “Complaint”) accuses the 12 Dealer Bank Defendants, along with ISDA and Markit, of conspiring to prevent the rise of efficient and transparent CDS trading platforms so as to stifle competition and preserve their favored position in the status quo over-the-counter CDS trading market. In September 2014, Judge Cote denied all defendants’ motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ Sherman Act Section 1 and unjust enrichment claims and full discovery commenced.
Document discovery was extensive. Pearson Warshaw with co-counsel Quinn Emanuel reviewed over ten million documents produced by defendants and millions more obtained from third parties through subpoenas. Pearson Warshaw also obtained, after months of negotiation, complete CDS trading records for the class period from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”). According to DTCC’s counsel, the trade data it produced was the largest data production ever made by DTCC. Working with the expert economists it retained, Pearson Warshaw built a trading model from the DTCC trade data that identified the members of the plaintiff class, their individual trades of CDS, and the amount each class member was harmed as a result of defendants’ anti-competitive conduct. Pearson Warshaw and Quinn Emanuel also took a number of depositions of high level employees of defendants. While the extensive discovery efforts were ongoing Pearson Warshaw also participated in numerous mediation sessions, jointly and with individual defendants, under the auspices of nationally renowned mediator, the Honorable Daniel Weinstein (Ret.). Judge Weinstein told the Court:
“I would go so far as to say that, in 30-plus years of mediating high-stakes disputes, this was one of the finest examples of efficient and effective lawyering by plaintiffs’ counsel that I have ever witnessed. I have rarely, if ever, observed a Plaintiff in a case of this complexity and size, achieve a result of this magnitude with the speed that Plaintiffs achieved here. . . . [Plaintiffs’ counsel’s] strategy, timing, and execution resulted in one of the best settlements I have witnessed in more than 30 years of mediating, particularly given the challenges they would have faced in litigating this complex case.”
In a joint statement issued with Quinn Emanuel following announcement that the settlements were final, Bruce Simon said: “We are pleased that we have reached this exceptional settlement for the Class, appropriate for the damages our clients suffered.”
The press release provides additional details regarding the settlement and preliminary approval.
The official claims administration website (www.CDSAntitrustSettlement.com) contains important information concerning how to submit a claim and important deadlines. To reach the claims administrator you can visit www.CDSAntitrustSettlement.com, email [email protected] or call 1-888-744-0531 for further information.