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Monday, October 14, 2019

Judge certifies class in 401(k) case

By John O'Brien | Apr 28, 2010


ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge has certified a class of as many as 160,000 Wells Fargo employees in a lawsuit against the company over its handling of their retirement accounts.

The decision, filed earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, also makes Charleston, W.Va. firm Bailey & Glasser lead counsel, along with McTigue & Veis of Washington. The suit claims Wells Fargo put its interest ahead of its employees by investing 401(k) retirement savings in mutual funds it managed.

Some class members did not lose money on their investments or as much as the lead plaintiff did, the court said.

"(A) breach of fiduciary duty that causes no monetary harm is still a violation of (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act)," Magnuson wrote.

Gregory Porter, of Bailey & Glasser, said he was pleased because there has recently been a lot of opposition to class certification in pension cases.

"Thus, the mere fact that participants experienced different investment outcomes is not dispositive to the commonality question," Magnuson wrote.

"For the purposes of class certification, (Robin) Figas has established that her claims are common to the claims of the class."

The plaintiffs claim their 401(k) plans would have performed better in investments unaffiliated with Wells Fargo.

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