Four pension funds — the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, Orange County Employees Retirement System and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church — are joining a lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp. for allegedly misleading investors into buying risky mortgage-backed securities, confirmed James Sinks, spokesman for the Oregon Investment Council, which oversees the Oregon fund.
The class-action lawsuit originally was filed in January in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Under the amended complaint, the Maine State Retirement System — the former lead plaintiff — dropped out of the lawsuit. The Iowa system is now lead plaintiff. At press time, it was not known why Main dropped out.
The case is being brought on behalf of anyone who purchased or acquired $351 billion of certain mortgage-backed securities from Countrywide in 427 separate public offerings over the 34 months between Jan. 25, 2005, and Nov. 29, 2007.
In addition to Countrywide and some of its subsidiaries, plaintiffs are also suing Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008, the underwriters and the issuers.
Shirley Norton, Bank of America Merrill Lynch spokeswoman, declined comment in an e-mailed response to inquiries.
The defendants' attorneys could not be reached for comment by press time.