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WaMu employees’ lawsuit against JPMorgan dismissed

SEATTLE — A judge in Seattle has dismissed an attempt by former Washington Mutual Inc. employees to recoup their retirement account losses from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Under the ruling by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman, the New York banking giant cannot be held liable for WaMu mismanagement that caused the 401(k) plans to vaporize.

Bad housing loans sank WaMu, the largest bank collapse in U.S. history, and JPMorgan acquired most of its assets for $1.9 billion in September 2008. Pechman wrote on Monday that fiduciary responsibility for WaMu’s retirement plans did not pass to JPMorgan in the deal.

At the end of 2005, WaMu’s 401(k) plans had more than 70,000 participants. As of Dec. 1, 2006, the plan held about 8 million shares of WaMu stock worth about $341.4 million.

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