Companies in both the US and the UK with huge claims against banks for subprime mortgage losses have largely been unable to find large law firms willing to take these cases due to conflicts issues. Most such law firms already represent the large banks. Plaintiffs, then, are turning to litigation boutique firms such as Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges in Los Angeles, which has developed a practice suing banks because the biggest US and UK firms won’t.
The Edmonton Journal reports that other top, smaller law firms willing to take on the banks in commercial litigation also includes Boies, Schiller & Flexner in New York; Susman Godfrey in Houston; and Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott in Chicago.
“For about two years we’ve been staking out a role as a firm that could be adverse to financial institutions,” said Peter Calamari, head of Quinn Emanuel’s New York office. “It was a good opportunity for us to find a place in the market,” the Edmonton Journal reports.
Quinn Emanuel’s recent cases include suing UBS AG to recover $275 million in subprime mortgage lossesstate-owned HSH, and a $2.1 billion settlement from the bankrupt Enron estate on its clients’ $2.4-billion investments in notes linked to Enron Corp.’s credit.
Boies Schiller has sued UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, and also represents Plug Power Inc., a fuel-cell developer, in a $62.7-million suit over auction-rate securities.
In November 2007, Bartlit Beck sued JPMorgan Chase & Co. for client Amaranth Advisors LLC, the hedge fund that failed in 2006 after losing $6.5 billion, accusing the bank of sabotaging its efforts to stave off collapse. Bartlit Beck sued Citigroup and JPMorgan on behalf of three funds, saying the banks aided a fraud related to loans the funds bought out of Enron’s 2001 bankruptcy.
Susman Godfrey has sued banks including Citigroup, UBS and Morgan Stanley over auction-rate securities sold to its client, the city of Baltimore; and Wachovia Corp., JPMorgan and other banks over derivative sales for a group of local governments.