772 F.3d 111 (2nd Cir. 2014), 13-2095-cv(L), Pennsylvania Pub. Sch. Emples. Ret. Sys. v. Morgan Stanley & Co.
|Docket Nº:||13-2095-cv(L), 13-2283-cv(XAP), 13-2286-cv(XAP), 13-2287-cv(XAP)|
|Citation:||772 F.3d 111|
|Opinion Judge:||WINTER, Circuit Judge:|
|Party Name:||COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM, together and on behalf of all others similarly situated, COMMERZBANK AG, together and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants-Cross-Appellees, ABU DHABI COMMERCIAL BANK, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, KING COUNTY, WASHING|
|Attorney:||LUKE O. BROOKS (Joseph D. Daley & Daniel S. Drosman, San Diego, CA) Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Plaintiffs-Appellants-Cross-Appellees. JAMES P. ROUHANDEH (Antonio J. Perez-Marques, Paul S. Mishkin, Jessica L. Turner, on the joint brief) Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, New ...|
|Judge Panel:||Before: WINTER, LEVAL, and LYNCH, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||October 31, 2014|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
Argued June 20, 2014
As Amended November 12, 2014.
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Appeal from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Shira A. Scheindlin, Judge) denying class certification, dismissing appellant Commerzbank's fraud claims for lack of standing, and dismissing appellant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System's claims for lack of diversity jurisdiction. We affirm the denial of class certification and the dismissal of PSERS's claim, and we certify questions dispositive of Commerzbank's appeal to the New York Court of Appeals.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (" PSERS" ) and Commerzbank AG (" Commerzbank" ) appeal from Judge Scheindlin's order of final judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). That judgment encompassed several previous orders that, as relevant to this appeal: (i) denied class certification under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 based on appellants' failure to establish numerosity and predominance of common issues; (ii) dismissed Commerzbank's claim for lack of standing; and (iii) dismissed PSERS's claim because its presence as a party would destroy complete diversity, the sole basis of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm the denial of class certification and dismissal of PSERS. However, we hold that it was not a permissible exercise of discretion for the district court to limit Commerzbank's ability to establish its standing. We certify to the New York Court of Appeals the question of whether a reasonable trier of fact could find that Commerzbank had acquired from a third party that had purchased securities a fraud claim against Morgan Stanley & Co. (" Morgan Stanley" ). We also certify the question whether, if Commerzbank has standing, a reasonable trier of fact could hold Morgan Stanley liable for fraud based on the present record.
a) The Cheyne SIV
We view all disputed facts and inferences fairly drawn from those facts in the light most favorable to appellants. Salamon v. Our Lady of Victory Hosp., 514 F.3d 217, 226 (2d Cir. 2008).
The present dispute arose out of the collapse of the Cheyne SIV, a structured investment vehicle (" SIV" ) that was managed by Cheyne Capital (" Cheyne" ) (a defendant
but not a party to this appeal) and structured by appellee Morgan Stanley. Cheyne SIV was launched in 2005 and issued several classes of notes amounting to several billion dollars, before its demise in 2007. The notes had different maturities, return rates, and risk profiles. Because of the complexity of the SIV, the notes could be purchased only by sophisticated institutional investors. Three specific notes are at issue: senior commercial paper notes, senior medium term notes, and mezzanine capital notes. All of them were given high ratings (the senior notes received higher ratings) by the ratings agencies named as defendants: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (" S& P" ); and Moody's Investors Service, Inc. and its subsidiary Moody's Investors Service Ltd..
Morgan Stanley included those ratings in selling documents distributed to potential investors. According to appellants, the ratings were unreliable because they were based on outdated models and data. The ratings agencies are alleged to have known of this unreliability. It is also alleged that the use of unreliable models was caused by Morgan Stanley's demand for high ratings. Thus, according to the complaint, the Cheyne SIV as a whole received a triple-A rating despite being loaded with very risky assets, including a significant profile of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. As is well known, the housing market collapsed in the summer of 2007. The SIV collapsed with it and declared bankruptcy in the fall of 2007.
b) Procedural History
Following Cheyne's collapse, this lawsuit was filed as a putative class action by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (" ADCB" ) on August 25, 2008. ADCB's complaint alleged common law fraud under New York law and based federal subject matter jurisdiction on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Two additional plaintiffs later joined. They eventually moved for class certification on the common law fraud claims seeking to represent a class of all investors in the Cheyne SIV who purchased notes during a class period from October 2004 to October 2007. The district court denied that motion, holding that plaintiffs failed to establish numerosity and the predominance of common issues. Interlocutory review was denied. Plaintiffs' counsel were then allowed to contact other investors, which led to the addition of twelve new plaintiffs, including Commerzbank and PSERS.
In January 2012, appellants filed the complaint operative for purposes of this appeal. Appellees responded with motions to dismiss and for summary judgment on the fraud-related claims shortly thereafter. In their motion for summary judgment, appellees raised, inter alia, the issues before us on appeal: whether Commerzbank had acquired from the original purchaser of some of the notes the purchaser's fraud claim against Morgan Stanley, and whether Morgan Stanley had made actionable misrepresentations.
In responding to the motion for summary judgment, all fifteen plaintiffs, including appellants, were limited by the district court to a single three-page " reliance declaration" necessary to establish the reliance of each plaintiff on the alleged misstatements as required to support a valid fraud claim under New York law. With regard to Commerzbank's claim, that declaration stated that Commerzbank had acquired Dresdner Bank AG (" Dresdner" ) through a merger in 2009, and that Dresdner had earlier purchased Cheyne SIV notes from Allianz Dresdner Daily Asset Fund (" DAF" ), the original purchaser, at par -- face value -- after which DAF was " wound down." The declaration further
stated that, under German law, " all of Dresdner's assets, liabilities, rights and obligations passed automatically by operation of law to Commerzbank."
On August 17, 2012, the district court granted appellees' motion for summary judgment in part. As relevant to this appeal, the court held that Commerzbank had failed to establish standing to sue under New York law. It held that, for a subsequent holder of a note to have standing to sue entities involved in the issuance of the...
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