Ropes & Gray Obtains Full Dismissal for State Street Bank in Relator Action under State Law

In The News
January 12, 2011

A Ropes & Gray team led by securities litigation partner Rob Jones obtained a full dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought against client State Street Bank and Trust Company by a former employee of the company purporting to assert claims as a relator under state law on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In Massachusetts Superior Court, the plaintiff asserted various state law claims for violations of the Massachusetts False Claims Act and Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty arising from alleged trading activity in investment funds managed by State Street Global Advisors.

In a Jan. 5, 2011 ruling, the Court agreed with State Street that the complaint did not assert viable claims, and the Court dismissed the claims with prejudice. Among other grounds, the Superior Court found that there could be no “false claim” under the Massachusetts False Claims Act where there was no sufficient allegation that there had been a relevant “agreement, contract or understanding" between State Street and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Moreover, the Court agreed with State Street that the plaintiff had not identified any false or misleading statements in State Street’s communications with investors regarding market timing. The Court also found that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue his other causes of action.

Ropes & Gray has one of the largest and most experienced securities litigation practices in the country and was named one of Law360’s practice groups of the year for 2010. The firm serves as general or special counsel to more than 100 public companies and advises more than 500 mutual funds or fund boards.