technology services provider DH Corp.
for $3.6 billion. Vista Equity is expected
to combine DH Corp. with Misys, a
portfolio company it acquired in 2012.
The deal is expected to close in the third
quarter of 2017.
Legal Advisers: Kirkland & Ellis and
Goodmans for Vista Equity; Cravath,
Swaine & Moore and Stikeman Elliott
for DH Corp. .
Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay
$110 million to settle a dozen class actions
brought after the San Francisco bank
disclosed that its employees had opened
unauthorized accounts for 2 million
customers in order to meet sales quotas.
The settlement, announced on March
28, came two days before the bank’s
lawyers would have argued to a federal
judicial panel that the suits should be
coordinated before a single judge. Wells
Fargo has been represented by Munger,
Tolles & Olson partners Erin Cox and
Plaintiffs lawyer Derek Loeser,
a senior member of Seattle’s Keller
Rohrback, was set to argue that an MDL
was inappropriate. Keller Rohrback’s
Matthew Preusch, Daniel Mensher
and Gretchen Freeman Cappio also
represented the plaintiffs.
In September, Wells Fargo admitted
its employees had set up the unauthorized
accounts and agreed to pay $190 million
in a settlement with government entities,
including the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau. The revelation
prompted the bank to fire 5,300 employees
involved in the scandal and forced the
resignation of former CEO John Stumpf.
Only $5 million of the payment went to
customers, who are the class members in
the suits against Wells Fargo.
The class members in the new
settlement are individuals who alleged as
of Jan. 1, 2009, that Wells Fargo opened
an account, or enrolled or submitted
an application for them for a product
or service, without their consent. Class
members are expected to be paid for fees
and other losses, with potential remaining
funds split among them. The settlement
includes an unspecified amount of
attorney fees and costs.
About a dozen cases were filed on
behalf of Wells Fargo’s customers,
citing identity theft, consumer fraud and
violations of the Fair Credit Reporting
Act, the Bank Holding Company Act and
the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
Among the judges under consideration
CRYSTALLEX INTERNATIONAL V.
for the proposed MDL was Vince
Chhabria of the Northern District of
California, who in 2015 granted Wells
Fargo’s motion to arbitrate one of the
cases. Wells Fargo brought arbitration
motions in many of the other cases, but
said in its March 28 announcement,
“In order to move forward and avoid
continued litigation, Wells Fargo agreed
to this settlement notwithstanding the
MOBIL CERRO NEGRO V.
As political and economic instability
grows in Venezuela, its government
continues to face hefty arbitration awards
over expropriations initiated by the late
president Hugo Chavez.
After duking it out before both an
arbitration panel and a federal court in
Washington, D.C., a team of partners
at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
in Washington, D.C., and New York
clinched more than $1.2 billion for
their client, Canadian mining company
Crystallex. Meanwhile, the oil company’s
lawyers at Steptoe & Johnson LLP
have asked a federal judge to order
Venezuela to pay the company more than
$188.3 million, the amount Exxon Mobil
says it is still owed as repayment for the
2007 expropriation of its oil assets.
On March 25, U.S. District Judge
Rudolph Contreras of the District of
Columbia ordered the government
of Venezuela to pay Crystallex for
“depriv[ing] Crystallex of the benefit of
its investment” in a gold mine there in
violation of a bilateral investment treaty.
Venezuela violated its treaty with Canada
when it denied Crystallex a permit, seized
the Las Cristinas gold mine and rescinded
an agreement to allow Crystallex to
operate the facility.
The ruling confirmed a $1.2 billion
award from an arbitration tribunal at
the World Bank’s International Centre
for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID) in April 2016. In the underlying
arbitration dispute, initiated by Crystallex
in 2011, Freshfields partners Nigel
Blackaby and Caroline Richard and
counsel Alex Wilbraham represented
the mining company. At the D.C.
district court, Freshfields partner Elliot
Friedman teamed up with Hughes
Hubbard & Reed partners Alexander
Yanos and Meaghan Gragg. Venezuela
was represented by Foley Hoag partner
On March 13, Steptoe partner Steven
Davidson asked U.S. District Judge Paul
Engelmayer of the Southern District of
New York to lift his 2015 stay on payment
of the $188.3 million award to Exxon
Mobil, plus legal fees and $68 million
in interest. On March 9, an annulment
committee had affirmed the portion of
the $1.4 billion 2014 award related to
expropriation of Exxon Mobil’s La Ceiba
oil assets, but annulled the portion related
to its Cerro Negro Project, saying the
original tribunal had exceeded its powers
by holding that general international law
regulated the compensation due, rather
than a liability cap in the contract.
The matter is one of two international
arbitration cases related to the 2007
expropriation of Exxon Mobil’s
investments in Venezuela. One case based
on the arbitration clause in the contract
went before the ICC International Court
of Arbitration, where Exxon Mobil won
$908 million. The current matter, based
on violations of a bilateral investment
treaty, went before the ICSID, where a
panel of international arbitrators Gilbert
Guillaume, Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler
and Ahmed Sadek El-Kosheri decided in
favor of Exxon Mobil in 2014. Venezuela
then moved to annul the award.
As in the underlying ICSID arbitration,
Exxon Mobil was represented in the
annulment by a team led by Covington
& Burling partners Thomas Cubbage
III and Miguel Lopez Forastier in
Washington, D.C., and by London’s
Gaëtan Verhoosel from Three Crowns.
deals & suits