Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did I get the notice package?
- What are the lawsuits about?
- Why are these class actions?
- Why is there a settlement?
- How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
- Are there exceptions to being included?
- What if I am still not sure if I am included?
- What does the Settlement provide?
- How much will my payment be?
- How can I get a payment?
- When will I get my payment?
- What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?
- Can I exclude myself from the Settlement?
- If I did not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendants and the other Released Parties for the same thing later?
- If I excluded myself, can I get money from the proposed Settlement?
- Do I have a lawyer in these cases?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- What was the outcome of the Fairness Hearing?
- What happens if I did nothing at all?
- Are there more details about the proposed Settlement?
- How do I get more information?
- What is the status of the settlement?
This Notice was sent to you pursuant to an Order of the Court because you or someone in your family, or an investment account for which you serve as custodian, may have purchased or otherwise acquired the Certificates between March 12, 2004 and August 7, 2013, inclusive. The Court directed us to send you the Notice because, as a potential Class Member, you had the right to know about your options before the Court ruled on the proposed Settlement of this case.
Additionally, you had the right to understand how a class action lawsuit may generally affect your legal rights. Once the Court has approved the Settlement, and after any objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will make payments that the Settlement allows. The Garden City Group, LLC, the claims administrator selected by Lead Plaintiffs and approved by the Court, is in the process of reviewing submitted Claim Forms.
Headquartered in Calabasas, California, Countrywide was one of the nation’s largest mortgage and home equity lenders. Countrywide originated and securitized mortgage and home equity loans, and the resulting securitizations were offered and sold to investors. In each of the actions described in the Notice, Plaintiffs allege generally that in offering those securitizations, Defendants violated the federal securities laws, specifically Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §§77k, 77l(a)(2), and 77o, by making material misstatements and omissions concerning Countrywide’s loan origination and underwriting practices (including how properties collateralizing loans were appraised), the creditworthiness of its borrowers, and the value of the collateral underlying its loans.
Plaintiffs further allege that the Individual Defendants signed the offering documents for the Certificates and that the Underwriter Defendants each acted as underwriters in the sale of one or more of the Certificates and disseminated one or more of the offering documents for the Certificates. In one of the Actions, the Bank of America Defendants are alleged to be liable as the Countrywide Defendants’ successors in interest. Additional information about the lawsuits can be found in the Notice.
In a class action, one or more persons or entities (in this case, Plaintiffs (i.e., the proposed representatives for the Class)), sue on behalf of people who allegedly have similar claims. All these persons and entities are a Class, and each is a Class Member. Bringing a case such as these as a class action allows the adjudication of many similar claims of persons and entities that might be economically too small to bring as individual actions. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members at the same time, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants, who continue to deny liability. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the cost and risks of further litigation and trial. Additional information regarding the Parties’ reasons for entering into the Settlement can be found in the Notice.
The Class consists of all Persons that purchased or otherwise acquired the individual securities issued as part of the 429 mortgage-backed securities offerings listed in Exhibit A attached to the Notice during the period March 12, 2004 through August 7, 2013. The 429 Offerings at issue in the Actions are also available here, and a complete list of the Certificates issued as part of the 429 Offerings are available here. Please Note: As set forth in the Plan of Allocation in the Notice, only those purchases made from March 12, 2004 to October 16, 2008 are eligible to potentially recover from the Net Settlement Fund.
If you are part of the Class, you are a Class Member and part of the Settlement unless one of the exceptions described in the answer to question 6 below applies to you.
Yes. You are not a Class Member if you are a Defendant in the Actions; a member of the Individual Defendants’ immediate families; any entity in which any Underwriter Defendant has a majority interest; any entity in which any other Defendant has a majority or controlling interest; any person who was an officer, director, partner, or controlling person of any Defendant during the Class Period; or the legal representatives, heirs, successors and assigns of any such person or entity. Additionally, anyone who submitted a valid and timely request for exclusion from the Class, in accordance with the procedures set forth in question 13 of the Notice, is not considered a Class Member and cannot participate in the Settlement.
If you are still not sure whether you are included in the Class, you can ask for free help. You can contact the Court-authorized claims administrator, The Garden City Group, Inc. by calling (866) 336-8968 (toll-free), sending an e-mail to Questions@countrywidembssettlement.com, or writing to Countrywide MBS Settlement, c/o The Garden City Group, Inc., P.O. Box 9993, Dublin, OH 43017-5993.
In exchange for the Settlement and dismissal of the Actions, the Countrywide Defendants, on behalf of all Defendants, have agreed to create a Five Hundred Million Dollar ($500,000,000.00) settlement fund to be distributed, after various Court-approved fees and expenses, among all Class Members who submitted valid Proof of Claim forms and are eligible to receive a distribution from the Net Settlement Fund (“Authorized Claimants”).
The $500 million settlement amount, and the interest earned thereon, if any, shall be the Gross Settlement Fund. The Gross Settlement Fund, less all taxes, approved costs, fees and expenses (the “Net Settlement Fund”), shall be distributed to the Authorized Claimants (as defined in the Notice). The Net Settlement Fund will be distributed to Authorized Claimants who timely submitted acceptable Proof of Claim Forms under the Plan of Allocation, or as otherwise ordered by the Court.
Your share of the Net Settlement Fund will depend on the aggregate number of Certificates (represented by valid and acceptable Proof of Claim Forms) that members of the Class submitted to the Claims Administrator, relative to the Net Settlement Fund; how many Certificates you purchased or otherwise acquired; whether the claims related to those Certificates are represented by named Plaintiffs; whether the claims related to those Certificates are “live” or have been dismissed; whether you held or sold those Certificates; the date on which you sold those Certificates; the amount of principal payments received on those Certificates; and the price at which you sold them. At this time, it is not possible to determine how much individual Class Members may receive from the Settlement.
A Class Member’s “Recognized Claim” will be calculated pursuant to the proposed Plan of Allocation set forth on pages 9-11 of the Notice, or other Plan of Allocation approved by the Court.
To qualify for a payment, you must have submitted a timely and valid Proof of Claim Form. Proof of Claim Forms had to be postmarked no later than December 15, 2013.
The distribution date in this case is not yet known. The Court approved the Settlement on December 5, 2013, however, there may be appeals and it is always uncertain how these appeals will be resolved and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. Please continue to check the settlement website in the future for additional case updates.
Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that, upon the “Effective Date,” you will release all “Settled Claims” (as defined on page 12 of the Notice) against the “Released Parties” (as defined on pages 11-12 of the Notice). The “Effective Date” will occur when an Order entered by the Court approving the Settlement becomes Final and not subject to appeal, as explained in more detail in the Settlement Agreement dated as of July 9, 2013, a copy of which can be found in the Court Documents section of this website.
If you remain a member of the Class, all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
To exclude yourself from the Class, you must have submitted your exclusion request postmarked no later than October 1, 2013. Therefore, the exclusion period has passed. This deadline, along with the instructions to properly file a request for exclusion, was included in the Notice.
No. Unless you properly excluded yourself, you gave up any rights you may have to sue the Defendants and the other Released Parties for any and all Settled Claims. If you did not exclude yourself from the Class in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Notice, you will not be entitled to receive any recovery in any other action against any of the Released Parties based on or arising out of the Settled Claims. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must have excluded yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember, the exclusion deadline was October 1, 2013.
No. If you excluded yourself, you should not have sent in a Proof of Claim Form to request any money. But, you may exercise any right you may have to sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against the Defendants and the other Released Parties.
If you elected to exclude yourself from the Class, you should understand that Defendants will have the right to assert any and all defenses they may have to any claims that you may seek to assert, including without limitation the defense that any such claims are untimely under applicable statutes of limitations and statutes of repose pursuant to the rulings described above previously issued by the Court, by any other court, or otherwise. Although Defendants have decided to settle the Actions in their entirety in order to avoid the continuing expense of litigation and for the other reasons described in this Notice, Defendants will retain and are not waiving in any way the right to assert that the claims asserted by any individual Class Members who elected not to participate in the Settlement are time-barred, are otherwise subject to dismissal, or otherwise lack merit.
The Court appointed the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC Lead Counsel in Maine State Retirement System v. Countrywide Financial Corporation, et al., No. 2:10-CV-00302 MRP (MANx) (C.D. Cal.). The law firms of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, represent the Plaintiffs and the putative class in Luther v. Countrywide Financial Corporation, et al., No. 2:12-CV-05125 MRP (MANx) (C.D. Cal.) and Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund v. Countrywide Financial Corporation, et al., No. 2:12-CV-05122 MRP (MANx) (C.D. Cal.) and were appointed Co-Lead Counsel in those actions before they were removed to federal court.
You will not be separately charged for any of these lawyers. The Court will determine the amount of Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s fees and expenses, which will be paid from the Gross Settlement Fund. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
The attorneys representing Plaintiffs and the Class in the Actions have expended considerable time and effort over more than five years in prosecuting and resolving the Actions on a contingent-fee basis, and have advanced all of the expenses of the litigation, totaling millions of dollars, with the expectation that if they were successful in obtaining a recovery for the Class they would be paid from such recovery. In this type of litigation, it is customary for plaintiffs’ counsel to be awarded a percentage of the class’ recovery as their attorneys’ fees.
For their work over the past five-plus years, which Plaintiffs believe to have been exhaustive, Plaintiffs’ Counsel asked the Court to award attorneys’ fees from the Gross Settlement Fund of no more than $85 million, or approximately 17% of the Gross Settlement Fund (which amount includes interest at the same rate as earned by the Gross Settlement Fund). Plaintiffs’ Counsel will also seek an award of expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution and resolution of these Actions in an amount not to exceed $4 million, plus interest on such expenses at the same rate as earned by the Gross Settlement Fund. Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s application for expenses may include reimbursement of the expenses of Plaintiffs in accordance with 15 U.S.C. §78u-4(a)(4).
The Court held the Fairness Hearing on October 28, 2013, at 1:30 p.m., in Courtroom 12 at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.
At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate and should be approved, and also considered the proposed Plan of Allocation and the application of Plaintiffs’ Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. The Court also took into consideration any written objections filed in accordance with the instructions set forth in the Notice. The Court also decided how much to award Plaintiffs’ Counsel for their fees and expenses. On December 5, 2013 the Court granted Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement, Plan of Allocation of Settlement Proceeds, and Request for an Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses.
If you did nothing, you will get no money from this Settlement and you will be precluded from starting a lawsuit, continuing with a lawsuit, or being part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants and the other Released Parties concerning the Settled Claims, ever again.
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are contained in the Settlement Agreement dated as of July 9, 2013, a copy of which can be found in the Court Documents section of this website.
You also can call the Claims Administrator toll-free at (866) 336-8968; send an e-mail to Questions@countrywidembssettlement.com; write to Countrywide MBS Settlement, c/o The Garden City Group, Inc., P.O. Box 9993, Dublin, OH 43017-5993; or visit this website.
Additional information concerning the matters involved in these Actions and the proposed Settlement is available on this website, including, among other documents, copies of the Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement, Settlement Agreement, important Court Orders and the operative complaints. For more detailed information, you are referred to the papers on file in the Actions, most of which may be inspected at the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012, on weekdays (other than court holidays) between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Subscribers to PACER, a fee-based service, can also view the papers filed publicly in the Actions through the Court’s on-line Case Management/Electronic Case Files System at https://ecf.cacd.uscourts.gov.
The Court held the Fairness Hearing on October 28, 2013, at 1:30 p.m., in Courtroom 12 at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, United States Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate and should be approved, and also considered the proposed Plan of Allocation and the application of Plaintiffs’ Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. The Court also took into consideration any written objections filed in accordance with the instructions set forth in the Notice. On December 5, 2013 the Court entered its Order Granting Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement, Plan of Allocation of Settlement Proceeds, and Request for an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses. Please be advised that there may be appeals to the Final Approval. It is always uncertain how these appeals will be resolved, and resolving them can take a long time, perhaps more than a year. You can monitor the status of the Settlement on the website or continue to call this toll free number for any updates.