Kirby McInerney Named “Most Feared Plaintiffs Firm” by Law36010/04/2013
Law360 has named Kirby McInerney LLP one of its “Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms.” The main factor considered in selecting the firm was KM’s performance in high-profile, complex cases between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2013.
During this period, KM, as sole lead counsel, secured a $590 million settlement for the class in In re Citigroup Inc Securities Litigation, 07-cv-9901 (S.D.N.Y.). The settlement represents one of the top five largest settlements of all time of a securities fraud-only class action. Moreover, at the time it settled, it was the third-largest recovery in any case arising from the subprime crisis, and the 18th largest securities class action settlement brought pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PSLRA”), no matter the specific allegations – placing it in the top 1.5% of all PSLRA settlements and likely in the top 1% of securities class action settlements of all time.
Further, 17 of the 18 larger PSLRA settlements stemmed from cases that involved either claims under the Securities Act (which carry no requirement to plead or establish scienter) or other non-scienter claims and/or an earnings restatement (i.e., an admission of both falsity and materiality) – factors which made them easier to prosecute than this case. Moreover, most of those settlements also involved contributions from more than one corporate defendant (which increases potential recovery sources). No such factors were present here.
KM developed this case without riding on the coattails on the SEC’s investigation of Citigroup’s conduct, and obtained a recovery that was far in excess of the $75 million that the Government procured. Indeed, the District Court recognized that “this recovery stands out in the crowd…Lead Counsel’s results are excellent. More than half a billion dollars is a significant and successful recovery under essentially any definition of success.”
Plaintiffs alleged that during the class period, the defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s exposure to losses based upon the Company’s creation and/or sponsorship of numerous collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”).
When defendants began to disclose the truth regarding their exposure to CDO-related risks, the price of Citigroup common stock declined significantly. By the end of the Class Period, Citigroup common stock had declined by $25.68 (46%) per share from its Class period high of $56.41. This fall caused billions of dollars in shareholder losses and made Citigroup common stock the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 2007.