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FDIC Settles Malpractice Claim Against Failed Bank`s Lawyers

FDIC Settles Malpractice Claim Against Failed Bank's Lawyers: According to an April 4, 2012 filing in the Western District of Oklahoma (here), the parties to the FDIC's lawsuit against the former lawyers for the failed First State of Altus Bank of Altus, Oklahoma, have settled the case. An April 7, 2012 article from The Oklahoman newspaper describing the settlement can be found here.

The First State Bank of Altus failed on July 31, 2009. On October 26, 2011, the FDIC, as receiver for the failed bank, filed an action in the Western District of Oklahoma against the bank's outside law firm, Andrews Davis, and two of its attorneys, Joe Rockett and Matthew Griffith. In its complaint (here), the FDIC as receiver for the failed bank asserted claims for professional negligence and malpractice.

The complaint alleges that the bank failed because of losses it suffered in connection with projects of what the complaint described as the Anderson-Daugherty Enterprise, which the complaint describes as the business efforts of the bank's former CEO, Paul Daugherty, and Fred Don Anderson, who was CEO of a company called Altus Ventures, a substantial borrower of the bank. The FDIC alleges that the law firm assisted Anderson in planning and implementing the so-called Anderson-Daugherty Enterprise, while at the same time representing both Daugherty personally and the bank itself. The complaint alleges that as a result of these relationships, the law firm and the two individuals had substantial conflicts of interest. The law firm also was allegedly involved in counseling the bank in connection with certain loans to certain enterprises in which Daugherty and Anderson or their related entities had financial interests. The complaint alleges that the bank ultimately suffered losses of over $10 million on related loans.

Neither the April 4 court filing nor the newspaper article about the filing reflects any of the details of the settlement of the case. It is worth noting that though the FDIC filed the lawsuit against the failed bank's former lawyers, it has not to date filed an action against any of the failed bank's former directors and officers. The suit against the lawyers for First State Bank is not the first instance where the FDIC has pursued claims against a failed bank's former law firm. As discussed here, in October 2011, when the FDIC filed suit against the former directors and officers of the failed Mutual Bank of Harvey, Ill., the defendants included the bank's former outside general counsel, as well as the former outside general counsel's law firm. Indeed, on its website, the FDIC reports that as of March 20, 2012, the agency states, without providing any further breakdown, that it "has authorized 29 other lawsuits for fidelity bond, insurance, attorney malpractice, appraiser malpractice, and RMBS claims."
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