AIG Can’t Escape Pimco Suit Over Losses From Credit Crisis

  • California state judge lets insurer immediately appeal ruling
  • Investment firm sued over losses from swaps, subprime debt

American International Group Inc. failed to persuade a judge to throw out a lawsuit by Pacific Investment Management Co. over investments that were wiped out because of the insurer’s exposure to credit-default swaps and subprime debt in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

California Superior Court Judge Thierry Patrick Colaw in Santa Ana rejected AIG’s argument that Pimco’s claims were brought too late in a ruling released Wednesday. He also granted AIG’s request to immediately appeal the ruling.

Pimco sued AIG last year after it opted out of a $970-million class-action settlement between AIG and investors who claimed the company had misled them about risks tied to the credit-default swaps and residential mortgage-backed securities. It was one of the biggest investor recoveries stemming from the credit crisis.

The judge said he’s allowing AIG to appeal because there’s a difference of opinion in New York and California federal courts over the time limit for bringing such securities claims. Pimco’s opportunity to opt out of the settlement would be meaningless if the New York court was correct that the time to bring its individual claim had lapsed, Colaw said.

"We respectfully disagree with the decision but are pleased that the trial court has agreed to certify an appeal in which we will argue that the more recent and better-reasoned decisions of the federal courts of appeal should be followed," AIG said in a statement.

Offering Documents

Sixty-three Pimco investment funds seek damages from AIG under U.S. securities law for stocks and bonds they bought from Oct. 18, 2006, to May 12, 2008. They allege AIG’s offering documents for the securities either misstated or left out crucial information.

Last year’s class-action settlement would have given Pimco about $1 for every $100 in AIG securities it purchased during that period, according to court filings.

The case is Pacific Investment Management Co. v. American International Group Inc., 30-2015-00779738, California Superior Court, Orange County (Santa Ana).

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