Steve Berman Argues WaMu ERISA Case


The Honorable Judge Marsha J. Pechman held a hearing to consider whether to dismiss WaMu employees' claims for the massive losses they suffered to their retirement savings when the WaMu stock they held in their 401(k) Plans became nearly worthless.

The defendants include the members of the WaMu Savings Plan Investment and Administration Committees, the HR Committee of the WaMu Board of Directors, former CEO Kerry Killinger, and JPMorgan Chase.

Steve Berman argued on behalf of the WaMu employees that the claims should not be dismissed, that Committee members had the legal obligation to eliminate WaMu stock as a Savings Plan holding when it became an imprudent investment, and they also had the duty to provide employees with accurate information about the precarious position of the company.

Mr. Berman also argued that JPMorgan Chase assumed the liability for the losses in the retirement plan when it purchased Washington Mutual's assets. He argued that it is only fair to require JPMorgan Chase to make good on the losses suffered by former WaMu employees given the massive profits that JPMorgan Chase will make by continuing to run WaMu's business with these same employees. In fact, JPMorgan Chase has stated in SEC filings that, while it purchased WaMu at the fire sale price of $1.9 billion, it expects to make $2 billion in profit each year as a result of the WaMu acquisition. Judge Pechman indicated she would issue a decision on the motions to dismiss at the end of September.

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12/31/69: Case Settled

On Jan. 7, 2011 the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman granted final approval of the class-action settlement agreement on behalf of eligible beneficiaries of the Washington Mutual Savings Plan.