On 30 June 2006, State Street entered into an agreement with GM under which State Street would serve as the Fiduciary and Investment manager for GM's ERISA plan. One of the plan offerings was GM stock. As the economy worsened and GM faltered, on 2 November 2008, State Street suspended purchases of additional stock in that plan offering. On 31 March 2009, State Street began to liquidate the holdings of GM stock. Plaintiffs sued, arguing that these actions were late-coming and should have been implemented earlier, specifically citing four prior dates on which such decisions allegedly should have been made.
After a victory on a motion to dismiss was overturned by the Sixth Circuit and a class was certified, the case moved to the summary judgment stage.
NERA provided support for Kenneth Lehn, a former chief economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, in submitting an expert report detailing the economic and financial reasoning as to why State Street's actions were reasonable. The analysis included both theoretical discussions about why future movements, such as potential declines, in GM’s stock were not foreseeable, as well as analyses of actual GM stock price movements and of holdings by large institutional holders.
The Honorable Denise Page Hood dismissed the case, citing, among other documents, the Lehn Report's findings that “in the days following the July 15, 2008 turnaround plan announcement, GM's stock price increased, 55.8% on July 28, 2008 from its July 14, 2008 closing price, and 48.6% increase from its July 15, 2008 closing price,” that “market participants, including institutional investors and pension plans, continued to display confidence in GM,” and that “some of the largest public pension funds continued to hold GM stock.”
The opinion can be read here.