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FHFA’s MBS litigation offers 25 billion reasons why government should hire private law firms

Livinglies's Weblog

(Reuters) – On a fateful day in 2010, Philippe Selendy and Manisha Sheth of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan took the train to Washington, D.C., to pitch officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a radical proposal: FHFA should hire Quinn Emanuel to sue the banks that sold toxic mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA’s wards. The firm already had MBS expertise, thanks to partner Peter Calamari’s groundbreaking litigation for the insurer MBIA, and Quinn partner Shon Morgan was already advising Fannie on potential claims.

Selendy and Sheth laid out a grand vision in which Quinn Emanuel would use federal securities laws and the statute that created FHFA to go after the entire MBS industry in federal court. The banks would hire an army of lawyers to fight the suits, they told FHFA officials, but Quinn Emanuel pledged to match it.

“That was…

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