Law360, New York (April 6, 2016, 8:17 PM ET) -- Grant & Eisenhofer PA, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP and Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP on Tuesday told a New York federal judge that they should be awarded $31.5 million from a $150 million settlement reached in litigation tied to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s disastrous $6 billion “London Whale” trading fiasco.
In addition to 21 percent of the settlement fund, class counsel asked for $1.5 million in expenses and $48,000 in costs. The attorneys spent more than 73,000 hours on the case over three and a half years, without a guarantee of being paid, they said in a memorandum.
“The settlement achieved in this action represents an excellent result for lead plaintiffs and the class, particularly when judged in the context of the significant litigation risks attendant in this action,” the attorneys said. “The $150 million that co-lead counsel obtained provides the class with an immediate and certain recovery in a case that faced substantial obstacles to establishing liability, loss causation and damages that could have prevented any recovery at all.”
Of the $1.5 million in expenses, about 30 percent, or $462,000, would go toward paying expert witnesses, according to the memorandum.
The suit claimed that JPMorgan violated the Securities Exchange Act by misleading investors about the riskiness of the bank's derivatives trading, which led the bank's stock to drop when the losses were disclosed.
U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels signed off on the settlement in January, after the bank and lead plaintiffs, including the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, noted that the money was already placed in escrow and was ready to be disbursed to thousands of class members.
That class comprises investors that bought the bank's common shares between April 13 and May 21, 2012.
The plaintiffs alleged that on Feb. 13, 2012, CEO Jamie Dimon insisted during a Fox Business News interview that JPMorgan was “fine” with a proposed ban on proprietary trading and falsely said that the company didn’t “make huge bets.”
And during an April 13, 2012, earnings call, Dimon notoriously downplayed public concerns about massive credit positions taken by JPMorgan Chief Investment Office trader Bruno Iksil, aka the “London Whale,” as “a complete tempest in a teapot,” and then-bank finance Chief Douglas Braunstein falsely claimed that the CIO trades weren’t proprietary bets, according to court filings.
In 2014, at the motion to dismiss stage, Judge Daniels pared the case down by cutting loose three individual defendants and limiting the plaintiffs' claims to statements made by Dimon and Braunstein during the April 2012 earnings conference call.
Other "London Whale" civil suits, including employee pension and derivative claimsagainst JPMorgan, have been dismissed.
Two former JPMorgan traders, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, face criminal charges for allegedly concealing the London Whale losses. But neither has been brought to the United States. The bank settled with U.S. and U.K. regulators in 2013.
The plaintiffs are represented by Daniel L. Berger and Jeffrey A. Almeida of Grant & Eisenhofer PA, Salvatore J. Graziano and Max W. Berger of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, and Andrew L. Zivitz and David Kessler of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP.
The defendants are represented by Richard C. Pepperman II, Daryl A. Libow and Christopher M. Viapiano of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
The case is In re: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Securities Litigation, case number 1:12-cv-03852, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.