Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Wins Dismissal for Nuveen Asset Management in Billion-Dollar Litigation

Jenner & Block last week won a significant victory for Nuveen Asset Management in a high-stakes litigation matter in federal court in Minnesota concerning allegations of more than $1 billion in pension plan losses.  Plaintiffs asserted claims against U.S. Bank, various U.S. Bank employees and Nuveen for breach of fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.  Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants breached the duty of prudence and duty to diversify by investing the assets of the U.S. Bank Pension Plan entirely in equities, which, they argued, caused the investment loss.  Plaintiffs’ claims against Nuveen were grounded in allegations that the investment firm acquired the liabilities of FAF Advisors, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, which managed the pension plan’s investments during the putative class period.  Nuveen moved to dismiss in April 2014 on the grounds that it did not acquire FAF Advisors’ liabilities under or with respect to the U.S. Bank Pension Plan, and, regardless, that plaintiffs failed to state a claim against FAF Advisors for breach of fiduciary duty or prohibited transactions.  The court heard more than three hours of oral argument on the defendants’ motions in June 2014.  On November 21, 2014, the court granted our motion and dismissed all claims against Nuveen.

The Jenner & Block trial team representing Nuveen included Partners Craig C. Martin and Amanda S. Amert and Associates Brienne M. Letourneau, Caroline A. Lindsey and Benjamin T. Halbig.