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Deutsche Bank is dismissed from large U.S. mortgage debt lawsuit

The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are mirrored in a rear window in Frankfurt October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are mirrored in a rear window in Frankfurt October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has dismissed Deutsche Bank AG as a defendant in one of two long-running cases accusing issuers and banks of deceiving investors about the risks of billions of dollars of residential mortgage-backed securities that soured during the financial crisis.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer in Manhattan on Wednesday said a June 27 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals meant that intervening plaintiffs could not join a case over the RALI Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates issued in 2006 and 2007 by the former Residential Capital LLC.

Baer dismissed claims arising from six offerings underwritten by Deutsche Bank, and let stand claims tied to offerings underwritten by Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc . The decision did not affect claims in the RALI case against UBS AG .

In the other case, Baer dismissed claims against Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc arising from two RMBS offerings under the Harborview Mortgage Loan Trusts, which were also created in 2006 and 2007. RBS had argued that claims under two other offerings should also be dismissed, court records show.

Baer narrowed the cases after the 2nd Circuit, in a case involving the now defunct IndyMac Bancorp Inc, said federal law did not permit intervening plaintiffs to put a three-year time limit to pursue claims on hold under a "statute of repose."

The judge said the "significant" change in law required him to reverse previous findings to stop the clock.

Joel Laitman, a partner at Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll representing the lead plaintiffs in both cases, said claims remain over about $11.9 billion of certificates in 16 offerings in the RALI case, and $22.5 billion of certificates in 12 offerings in the Harborview case.

The dismissal of Deutsche Bank "is not an unexpected result, but we are glad the court did not extend the impact of the IndyMac decision beyond what was appropriate," he said.

Deutsche Bank said it is pleased with Baer's decision.

William McGuinness, a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson representing Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Goldman and UBS, said: "We're pleased with what we regard as a straightforward application of IndyMac."

RBS was not immediately available for comment.

The cases in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York are New Jersey Carpenters Vacation Fund et al v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc et al, No. 08-05093; and New Jersey Carpenters Health Fund et al v. Residential Capital LLC et al, No. 08-08781.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Richard Chang)

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