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Tuesday, November 18, 2014
JPMorgan Chase & Company's Litigation on September 30, 2014
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the quarterly period ended
September 30, 2014
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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Note 23 – Litigation <excerpts>
Monoline Insurer Litigation. The Firm is defending two pending actions relating to a monoline insurer’s guarantees of principal and interest on certain classes of 11 different Bear Stearns MBS offerings. These actions are pending in state court in New York and are in various stages of litigation.
Underwriter Actions. In actions against the Firm solely as an underwriter of other issuers’ MBS offerings, the Firm has contractual rights to indemnification from the issuers. However, those indemnity rights may prove effectively unenforceable in various situations, such as where the issuers are now defunct. There are currently such actions pending against the Firm in federal and state courts in various stages of litigation. One such class action has been settled, subject to final approval by the court.
Repurchase Litigation. The Firm is defending a number of actions brought by trustees or master servicers of various MBS trusts and others on behalf of purchasers of securities issued by those trusts. These cases generally allege breaches of various representations and warranties regarding securitized loans and seek repurchase of those loans or equivalent monetary relief, as well as indemnification of attorneys’ fees and costs and other remedies. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, acting as trustee for various MBS trusts, has filed such a suit against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) in connection with a significant number of MBS issued by Washington Mutual; that case is described in the Washington Mutual Litigations section below. Other repurchase actions, each specific to one or more MBS transactions issued by JPMC and/or Bear Stearns, are in various stages of litigation.
In addition, the Firm and a group of 21 institutional MBS investors made a binding offer to the trustees of MBS issued by JPMC and Bear Stearns providing for the payment of $4.5 billion and the implementation of certain servicing changes by JPMC, to resolve all repurchase and servicing claims that have been asserted or could have been asserted with respect to the 330 MBS trusts. The offer does not resolve claims relating to Washington Mutual MBS. As of October 1, 2014, the seven trustees (or separate and successor trustees) for this group of trusts had accepted the settlement for 319 trusts in whole or in part and excluded from the settlement 16 trusts in whole or in part. The trustees’ acceptance is subject to a judicial approval proceeding initiated by the trustees pending in New York state court.
There are additional repurchase and servicing claims made against trustees not affiliated with the Firm but involving trusts that the Firm sponsored.
Derivative Actions. Shareholder derivative actions relating to the Firm’s MBS activities have been filed against the Firm, as nominal defendant, and certain of its current and former officers and members of its Board of Directors, in New York state court and California federal court. Two of the New York actions have been dismissed and defendants have filed, or intend to file, motions to dismiss the remaining actions.
Government Enforcement Investigations and Litigation. The Firm is responding to an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California relating to MBS offerings securitized and sold by the Firm and its subsidiaries. The Firm has also received other subpoenas and informal requests for information from state authorities concerning the issuance and underwriting of MBS-related matters. The Firm continues to respond to these MBS-related regulatory inquiries.
In addition, the Firm is responding to and continuing to cooperate with requests for information from DOJ, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, subpoenas and requests from the SEC Division of Enforcement, and a request from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program to conduct a review of certain activities, all of which relate to, among other matters, communications with counterparties in connection with certain secondary market trading in residential and commercial MBS.
The Firm has entered into agreements with a number of entities that purchased MBS that toll applicable limitations periods with respect to their claims, and has settled, and in the future may settle, tolled claims. There is no assurance that the Firm will not be named as a defendant in additional MBS-related litigation.
Mortgage-Related Investigations and Litigation. The Attorney General of Massachusetts filed an action against the Firm, other servicers and a mortgage recording company, asserting claims for various alleged wrongdoings relating to mortgage assignments and use of the industry’s electronic mortgage registry. The court granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss the action, which remains pending.
The Firm entered into a settlement resolving a purported class action lawsuit relating to its filing of affidavits or other documents in connection with mortgage foreclosure proceedings, and the court preliminarily approved the settlement in October 2014.
One shareholder derivative action has been filed in New York Supreme Court against the Firm’s Board of Directors alleging that the Board failed to exercise adequate oversight as to wrongful conduct by the Firm regarding mortgage servicing. In June 2014, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which is pending.
The Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is conducting an investigation concerning the Firm’s compliance with the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) in connection with its mortgage lending practices. In addition, three municipalities and a school district have commenced litigation against the Firm alleging violations of the FHA and ECOA and seeking damages in the form of lost tax revenue and increased municipal costs
associated with foreclosed properties. Motions to dismiss have been filed in all of the municipal actions. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. is responding to inquiries by the Executive Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee and various regional U.S. Bankruptcy Trustees relating to mortgage payment change notices and escrow statements in bankruptcy proceedings.
Municipal Derivatives Litigation. Several civil actions were commenced in New York and Alabama courts against the Firm relating to certain Jefferson County, Alabama (the “County”) warrant underwritings and swap transactions. The claims in the civil actions generally alleged that the Firm made payments to certain third parties in exchange for being chosen to underwrite more than $3 billion in warrants issued by the County and to act as the counterparty for certain swaps executed by the County. The County filed for bankruptcy in November 2011. In June 2013, the County filed a Chapter 9 Plan of Adjustment, as amended (the “Plan of Adjustment”), which provided that all the above-described actions against the Firm would be released and dismissed with prejudice. In November 2013, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Plan of Adjustment, and in December 2013, certain sewer rate payers filed an appeal challenging the confirmation of the Plan of Adjustment. All conditions to the Plan of Adjustment’s effectiveness, including the dismissal of the actions against the Firm, were satisfied or waived and the transactions contemplated by the Plan of Adjustment occurred in December 2013.
Accordingly, all the above-described actions against the Firm have been dismissed pursuant to the terms of the Plan of Adjustment. The appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s order confirming the Plan of Adjustment remains pending.
Parmalat. In 2003, following the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group of companies (“Parmalat”), criminal prosecutors in Italy investigated the activities of Parmalat, its directors and the financial institutions that had dealings with them following the collapse of the company. In March 2012, the criminal prosecutor served a notice indicating an intention to pursue criminal proceedings against four former employees of the Firm (but not against the Firm) on charges of conspiracy to cause Parmalat’s insolvency by underwriting bonds and continuing derivatives trading when Parmalat’s balance sheet was false. A preliminary hearing, in which the judge will determine whether to recommend that the matter go to a full trial, is ongoing.
In addition, the administrator of Parmalat commenced five civil actions against JPMorgan Chase entities including: two claw-back actions; a claim relating to bonds issued by Parmalat in which it is alleged that JPMorgan Chase kept Parmalat “artificially” afloat and delayed the declaration of insolvency; and similar allegations in two claims relating to derivatives transactions.
Petters Bankruptcy and Related Matters. JPMorgan Chase and certain of its affiliates, including One Equity Partners (“OEP”), have been named as defendants in several actions filed in connection with the receivership and bankruptcy proceedings pertaining to Thomas J. Petters and certain affiliated entities (collectively, “Petters”) and the Polaroid Corporation. The principal actions against JPMorgan Chase and its affiliates have been brought by a court-appointed receiver for Petters and the trustees in bankruptcy proceedings for three Petters entities. These actions generally seek to avoid certain purported transfers in connection with (i) the 2005 acquisition by Petters of Polaroid, which at the time was majority-owned by OEP; (ii) two credit facilities that JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions entered into with Polaroid; and (iii) a credit line and investment accounts held by Petters. The actions collectively seek recovery of approximately $450 million. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaints in the actions filed by the Petters bankruptcy trustees.
Power Matters. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating matters relating to the bidding activities that were the subject of the July 2013 settlement between J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp. and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Firm is responding to and cooperating with the investigation.
Referral Hiring Practices Investigations. Various regulators are investigating, among other things, the Firm’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws with respect to the Firm’s hiring practices related to candidates referred by clients, potential clients and government officials, and its engagement of consultants in the Asia Pacific region. The Firm is responding to and continuing to cooperate with these investigations.
Sworn Documents, Debt Sales and Collection Litigation Practices. The Firm has been responding to formal and informal inquiries from various state and federal regulators regarding practices involving credit card collections litigation (including with respect to sworn documents), the sale of consumer credit card debt and securities backed by credit card receivables.
Separately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and multiple state Attorneys General are conducting investigations into the Firm’s collection and sale of consumer credit card debt. The California and Mississippi Attorneys General have filed separate civil actions against JPMorgan Chase & Co., Chase Bank USA, N.A. and Chase BankCard Services, Inc. alleging violations of law relating to debt collection practices.
Washington Mutual Litigations.
Proceedings related to Washington Mutual’s failure are pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and include a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, initially against the FDIC and amended to include JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as a defendant, asserting an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion in damages based upon alleged breach of various mortgage securitization agreements and alleged violation of certain representations and warranties given by certain Washington Mutual affiliates in connection with those securitization agreements. The case includes assertions that JPMorgan
Chase may have assumed liabilities for the alleged breaches of representations and warranties in the mortgage securitization agreements. The Firm and the FDIC have filed opposing motions, each seeking a ruling that the liabilities at issue are borne by the other.
An action filed by certain holders of Washington Mutual Bank debt against JPMorgan Chase, which alleges that JPMorgan Chase acquired substantially all of the assets of Washington Mutual Bank from the FDIC at a price that was allegedly too low, remains pending. JPMorgan Chase and the FDIC moved to dismiss this action and the District Court dismissed the case except as to the plaintiffs’ claim that JPMorgan Chase tortiously interfered with the plaintiffs’ bond contracts with Washington Mutual Bank prior to its closure. Discovery is ongoing.
JPMorgan Chase has also filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the FDIC in its capacity as receiver for Washington Mutual Bank and in its corporate capacity asserting multiple claims for indemnification under the terms of the Purchase & Assumption Agreement between JPMorgan Chase and the FDIC relating to JPMorgan Chase’s purchase of most of the assets and certain liabilities of Washington Mutual Bank.
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In addition to the various legal proceedings discussed above, JPMorgan Chase and its subsidiaries are named as defendants or are otherwise involved in a substantial number of other legal proceedings. The Firm believes it has meritorious defenses to the claims asserted against it in its currently outstanding legal proceedings and it intends to defend itself vigorously in all such matters. Additional legal proceedings may be initiated from time to time in the future.
The Firm has established reserves for several hundred of its currently outstanding legal proceedings. In accordance with the provisions of U.S. GAAP for contingencies, the Firm accrues for a litigation-related liability when it is probable that such a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. The Firm evaluates its outstanding legal proceedings each quarter to assess its litigation reserves, and makes adjustments in such reserves, upwards or downward, as appropriate, based on management’s best judgment after consultation with counsel. The Firm incurred legal expense of $1.1 billion and $9.3 billion during the three months ended September 30, 2014 and 2013, respectively, and $1.8 billion and $10.3 billion during the nine months ended September 30, 2014 and 2013, respectively. There is no assurance that the Firm’s litigation reserves will not need to be adjusted in the future.
In view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of legal proceedings, particularly where the claimants seek very large or indeterminate damages, or where the matters present novel legal theories, involve a large number of parties or are in early stages of discovery, the Firm cannot state with confidence what will be the eventual outcomes of the currently pending matters, the timing of their ultimate resolution or the eventual losses, fines, penalties or impact related to those matters. JPMorgan Chase believes, based upon its current knowledge, after consultation with counsel and after taking into account its current litigation reserves, that the legal proceedings currently pending against it should not have a material adverse effect on the Firm’s consolidated financial condition. The Firm notes, however, that in light of the uncertainties involved in such proceedings, there is no assurance the ultimate resolution of these matters will not significantly exceed the reserves it has currently accrued; as a result, the outcome of a particular matter may be material to JPMorgan Chase’s operating results for a particular period, depending on, among other factors, the size of the loss or liability imposed and the level of JPMorgan Chase’s income for that period.