Deutsche Bank Can’t Appeal Workers’ Class Status in 401(k) Case

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. for now isn’t getting review of a decision granting class treatment to some 22,000 current and former workers who alleged the bank filled their 401(k) plan with expensive, affiliated funds.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Dec. 19 Deutsche’s request for leave to immediately appeal the district court decision that granted class treatment to the workers.

Without providing additional detail, a three-judge panel said the “immediate appeal is unwarranted.”

Deutsche’s request had garnered much attention, especially from business groups. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the Second Circuit to review the order that granted class treatment, saying the case presented a unique opportunity for an appeals court to resolve an issue that has evaded review for a long time because of the “profound pressure” on defendants to reach early settlements to avoid litigation costs. No appeals court has resolved the issue of whether challenges to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, can be brought as mandatory class actions under certain federal civil procedure rules, the Chamber said.

The judges’ one-paragraph order follows the same pattern of a June 2017 ruling that rejected JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s request for leave to immediately appeal a decision forcing the company to defend a class action challenging its stable value funds. Last month, JPMorgan agreed to pay $75 million to settle the class action that accused it of investing its stable value funds in risky, mortgage-related assets.
The order was issued by Judges Debra Ann Livingston, Raymond J. Lohier Jr., and Susan L. Carney.

Goodwin Procter LLP represented Deutsche Bank. Nichols Kaster PLLP represented the class. Mayer Brown LLP represented the Chamber.

The case is Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. v. Moreno, 2d Cir., No. 17-2911, order denying petitioners’ request for leave to appeal 12/19/17.