California County Pension Plan Sues JPMorgan Chase

By Staff Report

Apr. 3, 2009

Imperial County Employees’ Retirement System, El Centro, California, has filed a lawsuit against the $488 million plan’s custodian, JPMorgan Chase Bank, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and breach of contract.

The suit, filed on March 27 in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that JPMorgan Chase incurred losses in the securities lending cash collateral pools it managed for the plan through an investment in medium-term notes issues by Sigma Finance despite “unmistakable—yet unheeded—warnings concerning Sigma.”

The suit also noted that JPMorgan “earned substantial fees and interest through providing short-term repurchase agreements financing for Sigma,” according to court filings.

The suit seeks recovery of unspecified losses as well as restoration of profits that JPMorgan Chase gained through its financing agreement with Sigma. The plan also is seeking class-action status.

David H. Prince, Imperial County retirement administrator, did not return a call seeking comment on the plan’s lawsuit.

John Johnman, a JPMorgan Chase Bank spokesman, said the firm “cannot comment on any pending litigation.”

Filed by Christine Williamson of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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