Christopher Lometti is Of Counsel in Cohen Milstein’s Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice group. In this role, Mr. Lometti has litigated some of the most significant mortgage-backed securities (MBS) class action lawsuits to emerge from the financial crisis.
Mr. Lometti, together with his colleague Joel Laitman, initiated the Bear Stearns, Harborview, RALI, Lehman and HEMT MBS litigation at their named firm prior to joining Cohen Milstein. The lawsuits were high-risk matters involving novel claims on behalf of their Taft-Hartley pension fund clients injured by the dramatic downgrades of their MBS holdings from AAA to junk status. The MBS litigations have earned Cohen Milstein’s Securities Litigation Practice numerous accolades from the National Law Journal, Law360 and American Lawyer.
Mr. Lometti’s successes include the following notable matters:
- Bear Stearns MBS Litigation: $500 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit alleging Bear Stearns violated securities laws in selling toxic mortgage-backed securities that failed to meet the bank’s own underwriting standards and that contained false and misleading information as to the appraised values of the underlying mortgages. Mr. Lometti was one of the key litigators in the case, developing strategy and conducting extensive fact discovery into the 22 offerings backed by approximately 71,000 largely Alt-A mortgages that Bear Stearns sold to investors from May 2006 to April 2007.
- RALI MBS Litigation: $335 million settlement with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and UBS. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action litigation alleging RALI and its affiliates sold shoddy MBS securities that did not meet the standards of their underwriters. Mr. Lometti was one of the senior litigators on the class action, conducting fact discovery, deposing economic experts and preparing witnesses.
- Harborview MBS Litigation: $275 million settlement with Royal Bank of Scotland. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a complex case, in which presiding Judge Loretta A. Preska, of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, commented on the “job well done” by the Cohen Milstein team of which Mr. Lometti was a senior litigator.
- HEMT MBS Litigation: $110 million settlement with Credit Suisse. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a case alleging Credit Suisse and its affiliates sold toxic securities to pension fund investors. The suit, filed in 2008, was one of the first class action cases involving mortgage-backed securities to be filed.
- Lehman Litigation: $40 million settlement. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against individuals affiliated with the bankrupt firm, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Mr. Lometti was a senior litigator on the lawsuit, developing strategy.
- Dynex Litigation: $7.5 million settlement. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit involving the asset-backed securities. Mr. Lometti was a central member of the team to litigate this seminal lawsuit involving hybrid securities. In the litigation, the U.S. District judge issued one of the first decisions certifying an investor class pursuing fraud claims in connection with the sale of asset-backed securities. The Dynex litigation laid out a road map that could be followed in litigating an asset-backed security.
- Braskem Litigation: $10 million settlement. Cohen Milstein represented shareholders in a class action suit alleging that the Brazilian petrochemical company lied to investors in its American Depository Receipts about its role in a bribery scheme involving Petrobras, Brazil’s giant oil producer.
Currently, Mr. Lometti is litigating the following matters:
- NovaStar MBS: Cohen Milstein is lead counsel in litigation alleging that RBS, Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) and Deutsche Bank sold toxic mortgage-backed securities to investors. The litigation is one of the last outstanding class action MBS lawsuits. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit, paving the way for prosecution of the case. In March 2017, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York preliminarily approved a $165 million all-cash settlement. Final approval of the settlement is pending.
Prior to his arrival at Cohen Milstein, Mr. Lometti played a substantive role in litigating and settling the massive class action suit against WorldCom, one of the largest bankruptcies in history, representing significant stakeholders in the telecom’s bond offerings. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement of $6.15 billion.
Mr. Lometti has been repeatedly recognized for his career accomplishments, including being named to the 2016 Lawdragon 500, one of the industry’s leading peer-reviewed surveys, as well as annually recognized by New York Super Lawyers (2011- 2018).
He has served as a non-industry arbitrator for the New York Stock Exchange and National Association of Securities Dealers helping to resolve disputes, and as a mediator for the New York State Court System.
Mr. Lometti received a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham College in 1983, and his J.D. from Fordham Law School in 1986.