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MF Global Holdings Ltd. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 27, 2014

MF GLOBAL HOLDINGS LTD., AS PLAN ADMINISTRATOR, Plaintiff, -
v.
- PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP, Defendant

Page 310

August 27, 2014, Filed

For Mf Global Holdings Ltd., as plan administrator, Plaintiff: Daniel J. Fetterman, Michael Craig Harwood, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP (NYC), New York, N.Y. USA.

For Pricewaterhousecoopers L.L.P., Defendant: James J. Capra, Jr, LEAD ATTORNEY, David M. Fine, James P. Cusick, King & Spalding LLP (NYC), New York, N.Y. USA.

Victor Marrero, United States District Judge.

OPINION

Page 311

DECISION AND ORDER

VICTOR MARRERO, United States District Judge.

By Complaint dated March 28, 2014 (the " Complaint" ), plaintiff MF Global Holdings Ltd., as Plan Administrator (the " Plan Administrator" ), filed this action against defendant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (" PwC" ). (Dkt. No. 1.) The Complaint alleges that PwC, in its role as outside auditor and accountant for MF Global Holdings Ltd. (" MF Global" ), engaged in " extraordinary and egregious professional malpractice and negligence." (Compl. ¶ 1.) The Plan Administrator, as assignee of MF Global's claims, seeks damages of at least $1 billion. (Id. ¶ 7.)

PwC moved to dismiss the Complaint. (Dkt. No. 12.) By Decision and Order dated July 8, 2014 (the " IPD Decision" ), the Court rejected PwC's argument that the doctrine of in pari delicto barred the Plan Administrator's claims and ordered briefing on PwC's remaining arguments in support of its motion to dismiss. See MF Global Holdings Ltd. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 14-cv-2197, F.Supp.2d, 2014 WL 3402602, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. July 9, 2014). The Plan Administrator filed its opposition to the motion (Dkt. No. 19), and PwC filed a reply in

Page 312

further support of the motion (Dkt. No. 20).

Upon review of the parties' filings and for the reasons detailed below, PwC's motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

This case is one of many that arise out of the catastrophic collapse of MF Global. The Court previously detailed the background of this case in the IPD Decision, see MF Global Holdings Ltd., 2014 WL 3402602, at *1-2, familiarity with which is presumed.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal of a complaint for " failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). " To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). This standard is met " when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. A court should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if the factual allegations sufficiently " raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The task of a court in ruling on a motion to dismiss is " to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof." In re Initial Pub. Offering Sec. Litig., 383 F.Supp.2d 566, 574 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (quoting Levitt v. Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., 340 F.3d 94, 101 (2d Cir. 2003)) (internal quotation marks omitted), aff'd sub nom., Tenney v. Credit ...


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