CHICAGO, IL (May 11, 2009) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP successfully secured summary judgment on behalf of State Street Bank in an employee benefits plan class action stemming from the collapse of Delphi Automotive. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered summary judgment against the class plaintiffs on all claims against State Street. Plaintiffs did not appeal, and the dismissal became final on April 19, 2009.
State Street was the only defendant who refused to join in global settlements of the dozens of class actions filed following Delphi's demise. Delphi and several insurance carriers paid $125 million to settle the 10(b)(5) cases and $50 million in cash and stock for the ERISA cases in multi-district litigation proceedings in Detroit.
State Street was the trustee and investment manager for a block of Delphi stock held in Delphi retirement plans. State Street held the stock through a price decline while Delphi CEO Steve Miller conducted highly publicized and acrimonious negotiations with General Motors and the United Auto Workers, then sold the stock when it concluded there would be a bankruptcy with no recovery for shareholders. McDermott persuaded Chief Judge Rosen in Detroit that (1) State Street had only limited responsibilities to ever override the benefit plans and sell the company stock, and (2) State Street acted properly in waiting to sell until the workout negotiations collapsed.
The McDermott team responsible for the litigation success was led by Bill Boies, a partner in McDermott's Trial Department based in Chicago, and included Alan Hawksley, member of the Employment Benefits Department based in the Firm's Chicago office; Nancy G. Ross, a partner in the Trial Department based in the Chicago; and Heather Egan Sussman, a partner in the Firm's Labor & Employment Group based in the Boston office.
McDermott Will & Emery is a leading international law firm with a diversified business practice. We represent a wide range of commercial, industrial and financial enterprises, both publicly and privately held. Our clientele include some of the world's largest corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, and individuals.