Appellate Division Upholds Dismissal of Complaint by Hedge Funds Holding More than $190 Million of Defaulted Loans Against Credit Suisse, as Arranger of Financing and Administrative and Collateral Agent, for Aiding and Abetting Fraud and Breach of Fiduciary Duty

In a decision of profound interest to hedge funds that invest in distressed companies and the banks that arrange those loans, New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, has thrown out a claim that defendants Credit Suisse First Boston (USA), Inc. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC (together, Credit Suisse) aided and abetted a fraud committed by Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc. (Meridian) in a 2004 restructuring of its debt.  Credit Suisse helped to arrange a refinancing of Meridian’s debt.  Plaintiff hedge funds purchased a portion of Meridian’s debt.  Less than one year later, Meridian declared bankruptcy.  Plaintiffs claimed that Credit Suisse knew Meridian was insolvent at the time of the restructuring and failed to disclose it.  The court held that plaintiffs failed to plead a critical element of their claim, i.e., that Credit Suisse had “substantially assisted” Meridian in committing the alleged fraud.  We summarize the court’s reasoning and the cautions it provides for investors and lenders in the distressed debt market.

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